Young doctors stage sit-in


Young doctors stage sit-in RAWALPINDI: The Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) Young Doctors Association (YDA) held a sit-in outside the hospital, on Murree Road, for more than two hours after violence broke out at the hospital on Friday night.

A violent clash between two parties from Sadiqabad culminated in firing at the hospital’s emergency ward on Friday, leaving one person dead and four injured, including a BBH ward master.

Young doctors suspended services in the hospital emergency department and refused to check on any patients without security. However, ward attendants and nurses remained on duty.

The YDA announced a strike and sit-in on Saturday morning, and refused to work until the administration increased the police deployment at the hospital.

Over a hundred doctors gathered at the BBH front gate for the sit-in, which caused a massive gridlock after it blocked all vehicular movement on the main road.

Police, led by Superintendent of PoliceMohammad Iqbal, negotiated with the protesters, but the doctors refused to end the sit-in. The Rawalpindi Medical College principal, Dr Mohammad Umer – who is also the chief executive of the hospital – then invited the YDA to his office.

As a result of the talks between the YDA and the hospital administration, 15 police officials and 18 private guards will now be deployed at the hospital’s emergency department.

A senior doctor told Dawn that the administration agreed to strengthen security after consultations with doctors and paramedical staff.

He said even though young doctors protested the incident, paramedical staff worked on Saturday even though a ward attendant was injured, and claimed the protesting doctors had no link to the incident and were simply protesting for politics.

“The doctors suspended their services from the emergency and outpatient departments, and the administration had to manage things while calling senior [doctors] to run the OPD and the emergency department at night as patients were suffering,” he said.

He said the administration accepted the demand for more police deployments, but refused to ban the entry of attendants.

“There is no need to ban attendants; people come with the patient to help them use the bathroom or to bring medications from pharmacies outside the hospital,” he added.

“The ban on attendants will be imposed when doctors perform their duties, and nurses and ward attendants change the diapers of critical patients, and the hospital provides free medicines to all patients, which is not yet possible for the hospital administration,” he added.

YDA BBH President Dr Haider Akhter said a total of seven security guards were deployed at the hospital, and doctors found it difficult to work in fear of firing or other incidents.

“People have come to the emergency department and opened fire in the past, and there were no safety measures for doctors and hospital staff. We came here for work, not to fall victim to firing,” he said.

“We wanted to ban attendants because clashes between doctors and attendants have become regular features. We make standard operating procedures, which should be implemented,” he adde.


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