As Karnataka doctors continue the strike, yet another death was reported on Thursday allegedly due to lack of medical services. With the latest casualty, the death toll has gone over twelve, according to reports.
Karthik Rokade, 25, from Dharwad's Hosayellapur in North Karnataka died on Thursday. He complained of chest pain following which his family frantically rushed him to one hospital to another only to be denied treatment leading to his death eventually.
Doctors across the state are on a strike protesting the proposed amendments to Karnataka Private Medical Establishments (KPME) Bill 2017, to make private doctors more accountable, regulate the treatment charges, and take stringent action for medical negligence.
The medical associations in the state have termed the amendments as draconian and detrimental to the medical profession.
Dr HN Ravindra, president of Indian Medical Association (IMA) Karnataka, told Hindustan Times, "If the government sets up a law this way, doctors are going to be extremely wary of taking up risky cases, as the bill even proposes imprisoning the doctors for up to three years and imposing a fine of Rs5 lakh."
"If the state government wants to bring out a new medical law, then it has to include the government hospitals too, by which the government hospitals could also improve," he added.
After meeting with chief minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday, health minister Ramesh Kumar said the government is ready to hold talks with the agitating doctors.
Siddaramaiah will meet the doctors on Friday, November 17, to address their demands.
Over twelve deaths including a toddler have been reported so far from different parts of Karnataka as private hospitals remain non-functional. A 12-year-old girl from Huballi, in North Karnataka, Vaishnavi Jadav, died of dengue on Wednesday, as she couldn't receive treatment in time.
Meanwhile, Siddaramaiah slammed state BJP president Yeddyurappa for encouraging doctors to continue the agitation. He tweeted: "Opposition parties are being opportunistic & encouraging doctors to continue the strike. @BSYBJP has even promised to repeal KPME Act."
Opposition parties are being opportunistic & encouraging doctors to continue the strike. @BSYBJP has even promised to repeal KPME Act. If he wants to stand against the poor & needy patients,that is his choice. I appeal to the doctors not to fall prey to opportunistic politics.4/4— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) November 16, 2017
The KPME Act 2007 is already in force. Govt wants to amend the Act of 2007 to provide for a grievance redressal mechanism, price control & a patient’s charter. The amendments are in public interest. However, we are also willing to address the concerns of doctors & hospitals. /2— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) November 16, 2017
The Karnataka High Court on Thursday urged the doctors to withdraw protests as the bill is not yet tabled in the assembly. Since the government is open for talks, the court suggested the striking doctors to come to the discussion table. Hopefully, they find an amicable solution in the talks scheduled for Friday and medical services return to normalcy.