The ongoing doctors’ strike in central Punjab intensified on Monday after cases were registered against doctors for negligence of their duties which allegedly killed a young boy. The death took the toll to eight because of the prolonged strike.
Overnight some five people, including a one-and-half-year-old, died in Mayo Hospital, Lahore. A criminal case against eight doctors was registered whereas two doctors were arrested in murder charges on the complaint of the child’s parents.
In further stringent measures, the provincial government also arrested 33 doctors under the maintenance of public order section of the law. The doctors would remain in prison for 30 days.
The hospital sources at the Mayo Hospital said that some 1,400 doctors perform their duties at the hospital in normal days but on Monday only 15 doctors were performing their duties including five doctors from Pakistan Army.
On Sunday, the doctors from the medical corps of Pakistan Army took over the duties in the outpatient department.
In protest against the arrest and punitive measures by the Punjab government, the young doctors also extended the scope of their strike up to emergency departments of the hospital in addition to the OPDs. That further aggravated the situation at the hospital all over the province.
The hospital administration postponed all the surgeries and operations in view of the absence of the doctors.
However, the reconciliation efforts were going on through the senior doctors who were holding dialogues with the junior doctors. The Medical Teachers Association held negotiations with the juniors who demanded the released of their colleagues who were arrested.
On the other side, the government was contemplating to further crackdown on the doctors and blacklist them for practicing. Even, they were thinking of forwarding the list to the governments in the Middle East, where junior doctors have potential future in their field.
The strike spread as the junior doctors in Balochistan and Sindh provinces also joined them by observing token strike. They suspended their work at the OPDs for two hours to show their solidarity with the striking doctors in the Punjab.