Thousands of patients were denied treatment and medical checkups as the Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) observed an all-out boycott of out-patient departments (OPDs) across public hospitals in Punjab on Monday, demanding registration of a case against a lawmaker from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for allegedly manhandling a doctor in Sargodha.
Medical services were paralysed across Punjab as indoor, outdoor and out-patient departments presented a deserted look with almost no doctor available to offer medical treatment to ailing patients.
The YDA alleged that PML-N’s sitting MNA Chaudhry Hamid Hameed beat up a doctor at the District Headquarters Hospital Sargodha where he was denied protocol for his medical check-up the other day.
“We shall continue our strike till the registration of first information report (FIR) against the accused MNA and his goons who beat up our colleague in Sargodha,” said Dr Khurram Shehzad, the spokesperson for the YDA Punjab.
He complained that no one from the Health Department approached the YDA regarding the incident, adding that the government would be held responsible for suspension of medical services to patients.
Meanwhile, patients and their attendants staged a protest at Lahore’s Mayo Hospital and chanted slogans against the YDA.
Hakim Ali, an attendant of a patient, told this scribe that he found not a single doctor in the OPD for treatment of his uncle. “Doctors are punishing patients by observing the strike. It is not fair. They must end their strike. Patients should not be penalised for what the goon-lawmaker did,” he remarked.
Muhammad Saleem, a protester, said that doctors were educated people of society and they must realise that theirs was a sacred duty. “If patients are denied treatment at public hospitals, then where will we go to get economical healthcare facilities,” he questioned.
Nasreen Akhtar, who came to Mayo Hospital, said it had become a routine for the doctors to go on strike and leave patients unattended. “We cannot afford private hospitals and it is disgraceful that we cannot get medical facilities here,” she remarked.
Dr Zafaullah from YDA Mayo told Pakistan Today that they would boycott operation theaters in the second stage if doctors were not provided ample security across Punjab. “It is the government’s job to provide us security and avoid incidents like the one happened in Sargodha,” he said.
It may be mentioned here that there’s a complete strike in the DHQ Sargodha and as a result two patients died there on Monday.