By Pauline Hurungudo
As the doctors’ strike escalates almost reaching a month, the situation at the hospitals has become dire with patients being turned away while others are forcibly discharged due to the absence of doctors.
The junior doctors from most of the provinces who make up the bulk of doctors in the country have brought hospitals to a standstill.
Government’s suspension of more than 500 doctors has however, exacerbated the already desperate situation at State hospitals.
A survey by the Daily News crew yesterday revealed that the strike has spiralled out of control causing nurses to turn away patients.
While doctors were nowhere to be found at most hospitals, some seriously ill patients were left lying on casualty hospital beds, with the hope that a single doctor would come and offer medical attention.
Children in pain from different ailments were also among those who were helplessly waiting for the doctors.
At another hospital, one man who had seemingly suffered from burns all over his body revealed that he had been told to wait for the doctor who allegedly had reported for work but was nowhere to be seen for hours. Another woman concurred and said: “We are now leaving because we were told that we are wasting our time sitting here.
“There are no doctors; one doctor who came in the morning has not reported back for hours.”
Meanwhile, other seriously ill patients who were hurriedly brought through the casualty on emergency beds by relatives, suffered disappointment after they were turned away due to the absence of doctors.
The Daily News crew witnessed about two families reportedly receiving news that their relatives who were admitted at the hospital had passed on.
The picture of hopelessness was most visible as distraught relatives battled to come up with a plan B for the seriously ill lying in cars at the car park.
While the public hospitals are frustrating, private hospitals are not a feasible option for many owing to their steep fees that are beyond the reach of the majority.
At another hospital, only one doctor was offering services from his car, apparently attending to patients who are seriously ill.
Another man who apparently had a broken leg, had to leave disappointed after he had been waiting for the doctor for hours.
This comes after the Health Service Board (HSB), wrote suspension letters to all striking doctors, saying that the industrial action had been illegal according to the Labour Court judgment.
The doctors are disgruntled over the poor working conditions and salaries eroded by the hyperinflation gripping the country.
This is the second time doctors have downed tools over the same reasons this year. DailyNews