Following a stern warning by the Bombay High Court yesterday, doctors in government and private hospitals across Maharashtra agreed to withdraw their agitation amid revelations that at least 135 patients died in Mumbai in the past five days.
As per the court orders, the doctors are expected to resume normal duties by 8am today in all government hospitals in the state.
Taking a serious view of the flouting of its orders on Thursday, the high court yesterday served an ultimatum to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) to either join duty or face termination proceedings.
Chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice G S Kulkarni observed that “doctors were taking undue advantage of us and our sympathy”.
“If you (doctors) keep stretching the matter like this, then public will come and hit you. You are creating such an atmosphere,” the bench said.
The court made it clear that if the doctors continued with their agitation, then the hospital managements were free to take action against them, including termination of services.
“We think we made a mistake on Thursday by showing them sympathy and appreciating their work,” the bench noted.
The BrihanMumbai Corporation (BMC) told the court that in the past five days of the doctors’ agitation, 135 patients had lost their lives in Mumbai’s government hospitals, including 53 in KEM, 48 in Sion LTMG and 34 in Nair due to non-availability of emergency services.
Following a strict deadline of 3pm set by the court, the MARD filed an affidavit stating it had failed to convince its members to withdraw their mass leave agitation and MARD had no objections if the government takes action against the doctors.
Shortly afterwards, the 40,000-strong Indian Medical Association (IMA) of Maharashtra also announced withdrawal of the agitation by its doctors in private hospitals and general practitioners.
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