LAHORE, Feb 6: Four Young Doctors’ Association (YDA) activists fainted on Wednesday on the third day of their protest fast at a camp set up outside the Services Hospital.
Protesting doctors Muhammad Zahid, Dr Ahmad Badar, Nasir and Hasan were shifted to Services Hospital for emergency care when their sugar level dropped to a critical level due to their three-day starvation, said a YDA activist. This reporter saw several other complaining of severe stomach problems.
The four doctors are among the 100 who have vowed to observe hunger strike unto death in protest at criminal cases and departmental actions against their colleagues in the aftermath of clashes at Gujranwala DHQ Hospital. Police had arrested several YDA activists of Gujranwala for manhandling their senior colleagues last year.
Moreover 13 other striking doctors were put on intravenous nutrition (IV fluids) at the camp on Wednesday.
Their persistence has not moved the health authorities as no government functionary contacted the doctors for talks.
The deteriorating health conditions of doctors, however, injected momentum into the protest movement as hundreds of doctors joined the camp to show their solidarity with striking colleagues. They staged a sit-in there for hours and continued agitation for hours.
Representatives of various parties also visited the camp to inquire after health of the doctors and assured them their support to their just cause.
Jamaat-i-Islami Secretary-General Liaqat Baloch was one of them who visited the camp and said his party would try to mediate between the doctors and the government.
In the evening, a candlelight march was also organised by doctors of various teaching hospitals of the provincial capital on Jail Road.
“The attitude of the health department bureaucrats has forced us to go on strike,” YDA media secretary Dr Khurram Shahzad told Dawn.
He said instead of resolving the Gujranwala DHQ Hospital issue through negotiation, the health department terminated and transferred over 100 YDA activists.
He said doctors were transferred from Lahore and other districts to far flung localities without realizing that their training programs and education activities may come to grinding halt.