Two more children died on Saturday in Karachi’s National Institute of Child Health as Sindh’s doctors continued their protest for higher pay for the fourth consecutive day.
The children’s families uprooted the camps of the protesting doctors out of rage. The doctors started to disperse the scene after seeing the families’ protest.
Rafiqui Shaheed Road, where the hospital is located, has been blocked due to the protest of the families. Police has also reached the scene to calm down the situation.
The children were brought to the hospital two days ago. The families say their children were shifted to a room after being checked in the emergency wards but died because there was no one to care for them.
Two days ago, a six-month-old died in Sukkur under the same circumstances. The infant’s family had said the boy died because of the negligence of the doctors at Civil Hospital, Sukkur.
Despite the death of three children, the Sindh government has yet to take notice of the incidents.
The doctors were too busy protesting for an increase in their salaries, said the family. “None of the doctors were serious about the treatment,” said the father.
The child’s parents said they brought their son to the hospital with a high fever. But no doctor was willing to even do a check-up, they said.
“The doctors were not bothered and were too busy protesting,” said the father, adding that the hospital staff just said tests could only be done after a doctor came. But it was too late as his son had already died in his arms.
But the hospital’s medical superintendent (MS) had said the doctors are not at fault. The protests start after 11am, according to the MS.
Claiming that the baby’s condition was already critical, the MS said, “A check-up was done before the protest.” House job doctors and nurses were available on duty, said the MS.
Doctors at public hospitals across Sindh have been on strike for the last four days.
The doctors had demanded in January that their salaries be matched with those of doctors working in government hospitals in Punjab. They had called off their strike after the government assured them that their demands would be met but no official notification has been issued yet. The doctors now want the Sindh government to issue a notification for the pay raises or else they will continue their strike.
In the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors, they pledge to treat the ill to the best of their ability, to preserve a patient’s privacy, to teach the secrets of medicine to the next generation, and so on. It is an ages-old oath written by Hippocrates and is held sacred by physicians. But Sindh’s doctors seem to have forgotten this oath.