New Delhi: Having initially refused to participate in the nationwide protests of doctors, Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Sunday night changed their stand, after one of their doctors at the Trauma Centre was allegedly abused and threatened by the attendant of a patient.
The country's top medical institution joined the June 17 strike call after an injured patient's attendants, Rajkumar Yadav and Aman, on Sunday evening threatened the doctor for not attending to him soon enough.
Following the incident, doctors have demanded a "Central Act for Violence against Doctors" from the government.
"This event made us rethink about the warfront like conditions faced by our fellow medicos elsewhere, where they are usually left alone to fight for their lives while saving those of the sick and even where the basic security measure like CCTV surveillance and special security deployment at Emergency and ICU's are nonexistence,” a statement from the AIIMS’ Resident Doctor's Association (RDA) said.
The doctors at AIIMS had initially said they would only hold a protest march and not participate in the strike called by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday.
While the top doctor's organisation was in solidarity with junior colleagues in Bengal, AIIMS was earlier united to prioritising patient care first.
The AIIMS incident adds to its credit the likes of a similar incident in Bengal last Tuesday, where an intern was assaulted by the relatives of a deceased patient.
The Bengal incident snowballed into national news, with doctors calling off non-essential services, and only attending to emergency services.
Dr Amarinder Singh Malhi, the chief of the Resident Doctor' Association, told NDTV that the unfortunate incident in AIIMS happened because the physician on duty had chosen to attend him - a "low risk" patient - after attending to critical patients.
"But the attendant of the patient, who was drunk, verbally abused him and said, 'unless you see him now, I will kill you'," he added.
The decision to join the nationwide strike was taken at a General Body meeting held soon after the incident.
Meanwhile, police have booked Rajkumar Yadav and Aman under Section 107/151 of the CrPC and put them under preventive arrest. Further probe is on.
The IMA had given the June 17 strike call with the withdrawal of non-essential health services across the country. The IMA members will also stage a dharna at its headquarters in New Delhi.
Doctors at the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital, RML Hospital as well as Delhi government facilities such as GTB Hospital, Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital, Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital and Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital will not function on Monday.
In Bengal, chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday had invited the agitators for closed-door talks, but the offer was turned down by them.
On Sunday, junior doctors asserted that Banerjee was free to decide the venue of the meeting but stressed that it should be held in the open and in the presence of the media.
Both parties are expected to meet today in the afternoon.