After ‘Strike’, Both People And Doctors ‘Need to Own Up to Their Faults’

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Doctors protesting in this file photo

After some emotionally-charged attendants roughed up healthcare workers in a Srinagar hospital lately, the medical staff responded with a shocking strike amid Covid crisis. Even as doctors are back on duty, the move has triggered a mixed response at a time when unavailability of some ‘vital drug’ is leaving the valley breathless.

SOME recent broadcasted images from hospital chambers reminded many of the vintage valley’s dissenting streets strewn with bruised bodies. Certain roughed up Covid-designated medical staff walked out of the ward turned war-turf on shoulder support. Others could be seen writhing in pain.

According to some eyewitnesses, ire erupted in Srinagar’s SMHS hospital and targeted the health workers after some attendants—whose patients were gasping for breath in the Covid-crammed chambers—were told that the hospital is devoid of the “vital drug”: Remdesivir.

Following another attack, doctors went on a strike. While demanding security from administration, the protesting medical staff said they can’t face public anger for government’s inability to stock up hospitals with the vital drug.

“We are here to tackle the current warlike situation,” said a senior doctor from SMHS hospital. “But it seems the twitter-savvy administration is hell-bent to make punching bags out of us. If only it could’ve stockpiled Remdesivir in hospitals, people wouldn’t have resorted to violence against us.”

Soon after the shocking strike, vitriol and vexing reactions flooded Kashmir’s virtual space.

“Our young and energetic resident doctors are risking their lives by serving our community under testing circumstances,” Dr. Muzaffar Maqbool, Researcher and Associate Professor, Internal Medicine, GMC Srinagar, said. “Please cooperate.”

An angry doctor termed the public fury as a psychopathic action against the “Covid warriors”—whose role has currently become crucial for the community.

“Now you know why doctors leave this beautiful hell and settle abroad?” wrote Dr Zainub Nabi, a ‘surgeon in making’ at GMC, Srinagar.

Soon as the social media din over the controversy became deafening, many blamed the “critical reporting” done on medical staff by some Kashmiri journalists for the ‘attack on the apron’. Netizens even likened some social media active scribes with a prime-time shouting anchor from the mainland.

However, coming to the rescue of the “helpless” medical staff, some users exhorted angry attendants to hold administration accountable instead of assaulting doctors.

“Kashmir, if you are upset with the prevailing conditions in hospitals, hold powerful holier than thou administration and politicians accountable,” a twitter user said.

“The frontline workers doctors, nurses, staff are equally helpless.”

But some users took part in the debate to call out the ‘false sense of entitlement’ in doctor community ‘who’re only doing their job’.

“Beating of doctors by some Kashmiri ‘miscreants’ isn’t acceptable but medical negligence is criminal too,” a twitter user said.

“In garb of aprons, ‘some’ doctors are dangerous than uniformed army personnel. Both are saviours, who kill.”

Many also attributed the recent attacks to “drunk on arrogance” behaviour from the medical staff. “Firstly, any violence upon doctors must be condemned,” Ikram Ullah, a scribe from Kashmir, tweeted.

“However, as I have said before, there has to be strict accountability of doctors. All doctors are not noble, as we like to believe. There are these ‘holier than thou’, self-declared ‘cream of the society’.”

Amid scorn and solidarity, some doctors rose above the blame game and said that both doctors and patients are Kashmiris, who can’t abandon each other at the crisis situation.

“We are all on the same side,” wrote Dr. Shazia Shafi, an eye surgeon. “Please all of you, me included, let’s focus on our problems and health as united people of Kashmir. Stand with your doctors.”

Some even blamed the nomenclature for the public wrath on doctors.

“When doctors dub as administrators, shit will hit the fan, because you don’t have administrative expertise,” twitter user Mehvash Riyaz said.

“In Kashmir, administrative decisions at hospitals have since forever been taken by doctors. But when accountability is sought they conveniently say, ‘It’s not on us’.”

These are exceptional circumstances, Mehvash said. “And it’s only getting worse. People and doctors alike need to own upto their faults, only then there may be a slight chance of muddling through this. Otherwise we’re doomed. Or maybe, we already are.”

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Sajad Bhat

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