`SaveTheDoctor' protest in West Bengal spreads nationwide
14 June 2019
Doctors across the country joined the `SaveTheDoctor’ protest even as the strike by working doctors in West Bengal entered the fourth day and over 120 doctors resigned in protest against the attack on a student doctor in Kolkata.
On Friday, the doctors' association of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) offered full support to their West Bengal colleagues.
Doctors boycotted work and staged protests holding placards and banners with ‘Save the Doctors’ written on them.
The strike started following news in the early hours of Tuesday that a young student doctor was attacked allegedly by the relatives of a recently deceased patient in Kolkata’s NRS Medical College and Hospital. The doctor was allegedly hit with a brick on his head, leaving him with a fractured skull. He has been hospitalised and is in a critical condition.
The incident sparked massive outrage among the medical community, with several doctors from the state of West Bengal’s healthcare sector threatening mass resignation if proper action was not taken to ensure the security and safety of doctors.
A politically upset West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee asked the doctors to stop all protests and to go back to work. She also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of using the incident to create communal tension in the state.
Services in a large number of state-run hospitals in West Bengal were paralysed after striking junior doctors rejected a four-hour ultimatum from chief minister Mamata Banerjee to withdraw the agitation and restore normalcy.
Doctors and other members of the medical community tweeted with the hashtag #SaveTheDoctors, stating that they will be boycotting work and standing in support of the young doctor who was attacked and that the protests will continue until action is taken.
Many doctors’ associations and groups, like the Telangana Junior Doctors Association (TJUDA) have also come forward to condemn the attacks against doctors.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) took note of the issue and announced that on Friday, protests would be held throughout the nation in view of rising incidents of violence against doctors and medical personnel. The association also asked members of all its state branches to stage protests and wear black badges on Friday. However, IMA stated that patient services, particularly emergency services, will not be affected by the protests.