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Friday, June 27, 2008

Doctors plan two-hour strike to protest against attacks


by Special Correspondent

Dr. Nandakumar

CHENNAI: Members of the Tamil Nadu Government Doctors Association (TNGDA) have threatened to go on a two-hour strike on Friday to protest against repeated attacks on hospital staff, and in support of a legislation to protect their rights. Similar protests will continue until Sunday.

The strike will begin at 7-30 a.m. on Friday and go on for a couple of hours at the outpatient departments of all government hospitals, according to TNGDA representatives. It will be repeated every day until Sunday, when the executive committee of the TNGDA will meet to decide on further course of action.

“It is only a token protest to convey our unhappiness at the repeated attacks on doctors. If there is no response from the government, we will convene an executive committee meeting and plan to intensify our agitation,” S. Kanagasabapathy, State president, TNGDA, said.

The strike call comes in the wake of the arrest of 52 doctors, who were protesting against attacks on medical professionals in hospitals at Tiruvallur. The specific instance raised by them was the attack on a duty doctor in the Ponneri GH last week by relatives of a patient admitted to a nearby private hospital. Doctor G.M. Nandakumar’s tympanic membrane was damaged and he has been admitted to the Government General Hospital in Chennai.

However, K. Senthil, state secretary, TNGDA, said the strike call was also against a series of attacks against the medical community within just the last one-and-a-half months. He recounts incidents beginning mid-May at Rajapalayam, where a duty doctor was assaulted by nearly 200 people. The doctor involved preferred not to register a complaint.

The TNGDA district secretary of Salem was manhandled by relatives of patients, who were angered when they were asked to follow rules.

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