Hyderabad: At least eight children died at a government-run hospital in Hyderabad on Sunday as junior doctors continued their strike demanding a special protection force for their security, an official said.
With the junior doctors boycotting emergency services since Saturday evening, eight children died at Niloufer Hospital, the biggest government-run hospital for children in Andhra Pradesh, the official said.
While five children died in the intensive care unit, three other deaths were reported from the emergency ward.
The striking junior doctors, however, claimed that the deaths were not related to the strike. They pointed out that about 10 children die at the hospital every day for various reasons.
More than 400 under-graduate and post-graduate doctors are boycotting all medical services at Niloufer Hospital. They are on a strike for 10 days but had so far exempted emergency services.
Junior doctors have also gone on strike at Gandhi, Osmania and other government-run hospitals in Hyderabad and MGM Hospital in Warangal, demanding the government provide them round-the-clock security to check physical attacks by relatives of patients.
The junior doctors at Niloufer Hospital said the Special Protection Force, which was deployed last year following their strike had been withdrawn. The hospital authorities said the SPF was withdrawn as the government had not provided a budget for the same.
Director of Medical Education Ravi Raj faced the ire of striking doctors when he visited Niloufer to appeal to them to call off the stir. He said the government has formed a committee which would take a decision on the demand for SPF at various hospitals.
The striking doctors were unrelenting. They raised slogans and tried to prevent him from leaving the hospital.