Amid reports of protests by doctors in West Bengal, violence rocked Burdwan Medical College after a mob reportedly entered the college. The mob allegedly started pelting stones at students, and even targeted hostels occupied by the doctors.
What Transpired in Burdwan Medical College?
Speaking to The Quint, Dr Utpal, Medical Superintendent cum Vice-Principal at the college said an altercation occurred on Tuesday night after junior doctors at the hospital had decided to block patient access to emergency medical services.
At midnight, two patients who came in – one with a snake bite and another with poisoning – were denied admission and treatment. This resulted in a clash between the doctors and patients. However, neither side sustained any injuries and the situation was brought under control shortly, he said.
Responding to the reports of acid attacks in hostels and stone-pelting at doctors of Burdwan Medical College, Dr Utpal said that such reports are false and no such violence occurred.
“The reports of stone-pelting at doctors and throwing of acid on doctors in the hostel are false and should not be believed.”
He added that junior doctors at Burdwan Medical College stand in solidarity with doctors across the state in their demand for better protection and security.
Why Are the Doctors Protesting?
On the night of 10 June, a junior doctor was assaulted at NRS Medical College by the relatives of a deceased patient. The relatives accused the junior doctor of negligence and proceeded to beat him up. The junior doctor sustained severe head injuries in the ensuing scuffle and is currently critical.
This incident has triggered protests from junior doctors in state medical hospitals across the state. The doctors are demanding better protection from the state and police forces and security against such irrational mobs, if they are to continue to dispense their duties.
The Situation As It Stands
Health services in Bengal have been severly affected as senior doctors at state-run hospitals joined junior doctors in their protests. Doctors’ organisations have declared that out-patient departments (OPD) at government hospitals will be shut from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm on 12 June. Services in emergency departments are expected to be affected due to low attendance.
Services at private hospitals will be similarly compromised as doctors at these hospitals have also expressed their solidarity.