In Srinagar, attendants accuse doctors of negligence as strike continues

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After frequent attacks on healthcare workers in Srinagar hospitals amid COVID-19 pandemic, the resident doctors at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital have gone on a strike, demanding strict regulations to ensure their safety.

On 17 July, a few attendants allegedly physically assaulted a female doctor on duty and vandalised the hospital property. The attendants had accused the doctors of remaining off duty and an argument about the same had turned ugly.

The next day, in another fight, attendants beat up two doctors and a security guard at the cardiology ward of the hospital. Following this, the Resident Doctors’ Association lodged strong protest and demanded strict regulations.

Although, attendants have been long complaining about the negligence on the part of the hospital staff too. In a video shared by a journalist on Twitter, an attendant claims that after a lady, who was a resident of Pulwama in south Kashmir, died at the hospital, “nobody helped her”. 

“Then put on a cap and gloves and helped in putting a shroud on her,” he can be heard claiming in the video. “There were no scissors or anything to cut the shroud, so we cut it with our teeth and wrapped up the body. We didn’t even seal the coffin.” 

The man claimed that his mother too is admitted at the hospital, and “treatment was going fine until the strike.”

A resident doctor, who does not want to be named, revealed that the doctors had majorly demanded for “police security in the premises, including the gates, and a cap on the number of attendants allowed with a patient of not more than two.”

Curbing the COVID-19 spread across the country is proving to be really difficult for the authorities, including in Jammu and Kashmir. So far, 244 people have died of the disease in J-K, while the number of positive cases have crossed 13,000.

“One of the post-graduate practicing doctors from Jammu was traumatized that he was about to leave his post-graduation,” the doctor claimed. “He is still in shock. We literally secured him from those attendants, they [attendants] tried to almost kill him.”

Talking to the Kashmir Walla, Dr. Samia Rashid, principal of Government Medical College, Srinagar, called these incidents unfortunate. “I’m trying to negotiate,” she said.

Additional reporting by Yashraj Sharma.

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