After one week of continuous “doctors’ strike” that virtually crippled entire medical system in West Bengal and across India causing endless pain, suffering and even death of many patients, doctors have finally withdrawing the strike to resume regular hospital services on Tuesday. Following two separate PILs filed by PBT in 2006 and 2012, Supreme Court of India declared categorically that doctors have no right to go on “strike” for any reasons and medical council should take disciplinary action against any striking doctors. Without caring the Apex Court’s repeated directions, IMA and other powerful medical groups have frequently resort to “doctors’ strike” to settle their scores with the government and hospital authorities. While PBT has always denounced any attempt of physical violence against doctors, disruption of hospital services through strike by doctors is immoral, unethical and against the law.
IMA needs to appreciate the root cause of occasional physical violence against doctors by ordinary, peace-loving and law-abiding citizens after witnessing shocking death of their loved one due to gross medical negligence, real or perceived. A complete lack of trust on doctors for getting justice by the medical regulatory authority (medical council) and inherent flaws in the judicial system with endless delays in legal cases against the powerful medicos have resulted in a hopeless situation for the ordinary victims of medical negligence. Doctors’ strike is over for now, but who will pay for those victims who have already lost their loved ones due to this doctors’ strike. PBT is going to ask the court to direct the government compensate the victims. PBT is also planning to lodge a new “Contempt of court” case against the IMA for blatant violation of the Apex Court’s order. The peril of doctor-bashing and “doctors’ strike” are likely to recur again until a complete overhaul is done with the medical regulatory system to regain public trust on our healers.