After a strike by junior doctors that entered its third day on Saturday, 21 patients have died in the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), said officials.
According to a government official, six patients died on Thursday and 15 died in the last 24 hours and it was lack of doctors in the emergency ward that led to most of the deaths.
Demanding rise in their stipends, over 400 junior doctors are on an indefinite strike from Thursday. Emergency, outdoor and surgery services have been adversely affected by the strike.
The authorities at the hospital even sought the help of the state health department to deal with the situation, requisitioning more than 50 doctors from nearby hospitals. But only a dozen of them have joined.
“In last two days, hundreds of patients were forced to shift to private nursing homes. Those who cannot afford treatment outside have been left in the lurch,” a senior doctor said.
A leader of the junior doctors’ association said their demand for a hike in stipend has been pending for some years.
“We get stipend of Rs 13,000 in the first year, Rs 14,000 in second and Rs 15,000 in the third year of post-graduation. We are demanding that this amount be increased to Rs 22,500 at par with some neighbouring states,” the doctor said.
Hundreds of poor patients, who came for treatment from across the state, are the greatest victims of the strike.
Arvind Prasad, a relative of a patient, said: “We are the main victims of the strike because there is no doctor to attend to the patients.”