Health services in West Bengal's state-run hospitals suffered as junior doctors on Wednesday continued their strike protesting an attack on a colleague at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata.
Family members of patients at the state-run SSKM Hospital started a simultaneous protest by occupying the streets outside and blocking traffic on the AJC Bose Road crossing demanding treatment of their ailing kin.
"We are trying to attract the chief minister's attention as most of the patients have come from far off places. We want the OPD services to resume so that general people do not suffer," said a protesting family member.
Earlier, a member of the Doctors' Forum proposed to cease work at the outpatient departments (OPDs) of all state-run hospitals in West Bengal on Wednesday.
"We want some sort of assurance as whenever any incident occurs, the security and administration people are untraceable. It is us (junior doctors) who are beaten up or manhandled," one of the protesting doctors at NRS Hospital said.
Similar scenes of cease-work was witnessed in districts such as Bankura, Birbhum and Coochbehar.
According to an NDTV report, the out-patient departments (OPDs) of all the government hospitals will be shut on Wednesday from 9 am to 9 pm due to the protests. The hospital, however, maintains the emergency departments will function normally.
Services at private hospitals are also expected to be affected, since many of them have shown their support for the protesting doctors.
Disturbances erupted at the state-run NRS Hospital on Tuesday morning bringing the regular services to a standstill, after a junior doctor was allegedly beaten up by the kin of a 75-year-old patient who died there late on Monday night. The family members of the deceased patient alleged medical negligence.
The intern named Paribaha Mukherjee sustained serious a skull injury in the attack and has been admitted in the intensive care unit of the Institute of Neurosciences in Kolkata's Park Circus area. His condition is reportedly stable.
Consequently, junior doctors locked up the hospital gates, stopped work at the OPD and started a 'dharna' to protest against the attack.
(With inputs from IANS)