However, despite the fact that emergency and casualty services were not cancelled during the protests, a number of patients who had queued up at the RKMH since morning complained of not receiving medical attention due to the absence of doctors.
They added that while they wanted the media to be present, the venue could be decided by the West Bengal CM. Only emergency services were functional for a few departments, and the hospital cancelled 80 surgeries. Later, doctors from across the country came out in support and protests were staged in different cities in the nation.
"Emergent Executive Committee Meeting convened chose to support the call given by IMA for withdrawal of non-essential services on 17th June (Monday) for 24 hours (6am to 6am) to protest against violence against doctors and hospitals".
Doctors of the AIIMS also held a protest march in the campus between 8 am and 9 am.
Earlier in the day doctors across India observed a one-day strike in solidarity with their West Bengal colleagues, withdrawing non-essential medical services, including outpatient department services, for 24 hours starting 6 am on Monday. In Goa too, medicos observed the strike and took out a "silent protest march" to condemn the attack on some of their colleagues in West Bengal.
The strike had a telling effect on medical services as people struggled to get treatment in private hospitals in Karnataka. However, government hospitals remained open after the Commissioner of Health and Family Welfare issued a circular.
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A middle-aged man, who accompanied his ailing wife to a hospital in Hisar, Haryana, said, "Why should patients have to suffer like this?"
"Healthcare violence has its origin in high expectations, lack of infrastructure and inadequate human resources", the medical body said in the statement.
The medical association had launched a four-day nationwide protest on Friday, and had written to Home Minister Amit Shah demanding a central law to prevent violence against healthcare workers. It had also asked the state government to persuade the doctors to resume work.
IMA - the country's largest medical body - has urged for the formulation of a comprehensive law for the enactment of protection law for the doctors and amendment in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
Banerjee is under pressure to resolve the strike, which started when two junior doctors at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata were assaulted after a 75-year-old patient died.
Death of patients, identified as the root cause of violence in state-run hospitals, was discussed at length during West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's meeting with the agitating doctors on Monday.