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Emergency ward open in three of five medical colleges

Patients turning up at the emergency ward since Saturday are being attended to by senior doctors

By Subhajoy Roy , Debraj Mitra and Subhankar Chowdhury in Sealdah

  • Published 17.06.19, 3:18 AM
  • Updated 17.06.19, 3:18 AM
The emergency ward at SSKM hospital on Sunday afternoon. The footfall was low since it was a holiday but doctors were available throughout the day.
The emergency ward at SSKM hospital on Sunday afternoon. The footfall was low since it was a holiday but doctors were available throughout the day. Picture by Gautam Bose

Emergency services at the NRS Hospital and Medical College, which had been shut since junior doctors went on strike on Tuesday, resumed on Saturday morning.

Patients turning up at the emergency ward since Saturday are being attended to by senior doctors.

Ever since the ceasework started at NRS to protest the assault on two junior doctors, agitating doctors had been taking turns in blocking the road leading to the emergency unit.

During its visit to the hospital on Sunday, Metro saw doctors had left a space for at least one vehicle to pass through and reach the gate of the emergency unit.

A young boy was seen leaving the unit after being treated for a head injury. “His head was hit by the blades of a moving fan. We brought him here and doctors bandaged the wound,” said a man who was accompanying the boy.

A guard outside the emergency ward said a senior doctor was attending to patients. “The emergency ward has been functioning since Saturday,” he said.

This newspaper reported on Saturday that though the gate of the emergency ward was kept open on Friday, giving an impression that emergency services were on, patients had to return without treatment.

At SSKM Hospital, senior doctors have been running emergency services since Thursday.

There were only a handful of patients inside the ward around 1.15pm on Sunday. Three doctors were at the counters, looking at case histories of the patients and prescribing the course of action. A doctor was examining patients whenever needed.

None of the counters had any queue in front of it.

Most of the beds it the emergency observation ward were empty. A senior doctor was attending to the few patients in the ward.

“My shift usually stretches six hours. Over the past few days, I have been doing 12-hour shifts,” the doctor said. “I still stand in solidarity with the striking doctors.”

A child was brought in around 2pm, carried by his father and another man. A prescription the men were carrying had “leukaemia with acute retention of urine” written on it.

The boy’s forehead was swollen and he could barely keep his eyes open. A doctor went through the child’s medical history and gave some instructions to a nurse before asking the father and the other man to wait outside.

A junior doctor at the Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital said the emergency department had never shut down. Many, however, had alleged that they had been turned away from the main gate, which the protesting doctors had closed.

The junior doctor who spoke to this newspaper said: “We never turned away delivery cases, patients injured in road accidents or cases of poisoning from snake bites. Only non-critical patients... were turned away.”

At the RG Kar Medical College and Hospital and Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, the emergency departments were shut even on Sunday. At RG Kar, a man with a tumour in his liver had turned up but a junior doctor at the door of the emergency unit told relatives accompanying him: “There are no doctors here. Take him somewhere else.”

At Calcutta Medical College, the gates on both CR Avenue and College Street were closed. Doctors turned away anyone who turned up saying a strike was on.