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Friday, May 18, 2007

Government doctors go on strike protesting arrest of two doctors


Government doctors go on strike

R. Sairam

They protest arrest of two doctors

MADURAI : Normal functioning of the Government Rajaji Hospital here was affected from Thursday afternoon following a strike called by the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association, Madurai district.

The association members were protesting the manner in which two city doctors were arrested on Wednesday for alleged medical negligence that led to the death of a seven-year-old boy. The doctor couple were released on bail on Thursday.

The Tallakulam police registered a case under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) following a complaint lodged by the boy's kin alleging medical negligence.

All elective surgeries were stopped at the GRH from Thursday afternoon. Emergency operations would, however, be carried out unhindered. The members also decided to suspend all cooperation with the police and stopped issuing wound and postmortem certificates to all cases. Speaking to reporters, the association secretary, K. Senthil, said, "This action by the police is in direct violation of Supreme Court guidelines with regard to filing of cases against doctors and hospitals. They stipulate that unless a senior doctor in that speciality, preferably a government doctor, certifies gross negligence, a doctor cannot be arrested."

Dr. Senthil said that a similar directive had also been issued recently by the Director General of Police, which stated that arresting doctors would damage their morale and reputation.

An urgent general body meeting of the association was convened following which a meeting with the local office-bearers Indian Medical Association was also held.

"The IMA has endorsed our resolutions and private doctors have also extended their support," said Dr. Senthil.

Members of the TNGDA would stage a dharna on the hospital premises on Friday morning seeking action against the police and withdrawal of cases filed against the doctor couple.

The Dean (in-charge) of GRH, S.M. Sivakumar, said that the hospital administration was fully geared up to face any exigency. "We will ensure that emergency services remain unaffected."

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