JJ Hospital's ophthalmology dept in 'eye' of storm, doctors go on strike

Resident doctors at the Maharashtra govt-run J J Hospital in Mumbai have gone on an indefinite strike, alleging the ophthalmology department is being run in a "dictatorial" manner

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Press Trust of India Mumbai

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Resident doctors at the Maharashtra government-run J J Hospital in Mumbai have gone on an indefinite strike, alleging the ophthalmology department is being run in a "dictatorial" manner by former dean and veteran eye surgeon Dr Tatyarao Lahane and the current department head.
The strike, called by the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), started on Wednesday (May 31) and the agitating physicians are also seeking resolution of the issue of unpaid stipends and arrears of the previous two batches.
Later in the evening, the MARD demanded immediate transfer of Lahane and Parekh.
The Federation of Residents Doctors Association (FORDA), a pan-India organisation, also extended its support to the agitating physicians and sought the state government's intervention to resolve the matter.
The stir is centred around Lahane, a Padma Shri recipient who holds a record for performing the highest number of cataract surgeries, and Dr Ragini Parekh, the current head of the ophthalmology department at the Maharashtra's biggest government hospital. Lahane earlier served as the dean of J J Hospital and also Director of the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) of the state government.
Dr Shubham Soni, president, JJ Hospital Chapter of MARD, said resident doctors have alleged Lahane and Parekh have been running the ophthalmology department "dictatorially" and in a way that clearly violates National Medical Commission (NMC) guidelines at multiple levels.

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The two surgeons do almost all the surgeries that are conducted in the department, mostly cataract surgeries. Despite JJ Hospital being a teaching institute, hardly any attention is paid to the academics of the residents, he said.
Lahane, on the other hand, trashed the allegations levelled against him as baseless and claimed he has quit the hospital. He said nine doctors, including Parekh and himself, have "resigned" due to harassment at the hands of the hospital administration.
But Soni claimed hospital authorities have not received their resignation letters.
"The strike will not end till the demands are met," Soni said.
The sole purpose of resident doctors in this department seems to make life easier for the two surgeons while doing all preoperative work, he added.
Dr T P Lahane, who currently holds no position at JJ Hospital, and Dr Ragini Parekh, the head of the ophthalmology department, are running the department in a dictatorial way, in contravention of numerous NMC regulations. The claims can be validated with the report of an enquiry committee set up by JJ Hospital to investigate this matter, Soni said.
In the department of ophthalmology, resident doctors have been dealing with several major issues, including a lack of surgical hands-on experience, minimal academic and research activities. They also face unpleasant and obscene language, he alleged.
Neelam Gorhe, Deputy Chairperson of the Maharashtra Legislative Council, said the state government should intervene and resolve the issue.
The striking doctors have also demanded immediate resolution of the issue of unpaid stipends for three months of the Junior Resident Batch 2022 23 and pending arrears of the 2020-21 batch.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Jun 2 2023 | 7:17 AM IST

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