Hyderabad hospital remains paralysed, toll 16


Hyderabad : Junior doctors of a leading children’s hospital here continued their strike for the fourth day Wednesday, demanding action against a legislator who allegedly attacked medicos even as healthcare services remained paralysed and one more child died, taking the toll since Sunday to 16.

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The stalemate continued with the Andhra Pradesh Junior Doctors Association (APJDA) sticking to its demands for booking a case of attempt to murder against Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Afsar Khan, his suspension from the assembly and a law to prevent attacks on doctors. The state government has rejected the demands.

One more death was reported Wednesday, taking the four-day toll to 16 at the Niloufer Children’s hospital, the biggest government-run hospital for children in Andhra Pradesh.

While the parents of the children said they died due to lack of medical care, hospital authorities said the deaths were in accordance with the normal mortality rate since many children in serious condition are brought to the hospital from different parts of the state and also neighbouring Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy said that an average of five deaths was normal at Niloufer.

Meanwhile, Additional Commissioner of Police (Central Zone) Shaikh Mohammed Iqbal said there was nothing either in the complaint of the junior doctors or the statement of three witnesses to warrant booking of a case against the legislator under Section 307 (attempt to murder) as Sunday’s incident was not of that nature.

“If during our investigation we get some evidence that there was an attempt to murder, then we can book a case under the section. But at the moment there is no such evidence,” he said.

Senior doctors of Niloufer, who were rendering emergency services, held a protest demonstration outside the hospital and wore black badges.

Normal services were also affected at another major hospital, Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) here, with junior doctors staying away from their work. They held a protest demonstration demanding disqualification of Afsar Khan from the assembly.

A two-judge bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court headed by acting Chief Justice Bilal Nazki adjourned the hearing on a public interest litigation on the issue of the doctors’ strike at Niloufer till Friday.

The court issued notices to the APJDA and the Andhra Pradesh Government Doctors Association. As per the direction of the court, the advocate general filed an affidavit providing details of alternate arrangements made at the Niloufer hospital in view of the strike.

The MIM legislator, who represents the Karwan constituency in the state capital and was also involved in the attack on controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen here in August, had allegedly manhandled doctors Sunday.

The legislator had come to the hospital to sort out an issue between the doctors and MIM worker Junaid Khan, who had admitted his one-year-old daughter suffering from respiratory problems in the hospital.

Angry over the alleged delay in treatment to her, Junaid and his relatives created a ruckus. Junaid was arrested on a complaint from the doctors.

Afsar Khan was arrested by the police late Sunday night for abusing and assaulting doctors but was let off on bail.