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    Profile photo of Dr. Paresh Koli
    Dr. Paresh Koli

    JJ hospital ophthalmology strike

    A post on Facebook describes narration of resident doctor of JJ Hospital Ophthalmology department.

    I am writing this because I have experienced all that first hand and have seen it happen to others too, by ‘it’ I mean “their tyranny and inhuman behaviour”.

    Medical students slog very hard to get through the PG entrance. The amount of dedication and preparation required to get a PG seat ,that too in a prestigious govt college, is known to every MBBS graduate and the common man too in general. When one gets through and succeeds to procure a rank good enough, the feeling for the student and the family is just pure bliss. Thats when a student starts thinking about the world full of opportunities waiting ahead for him. And then one takes the JJ ophthal seat and the world turns upside down.

    I know most students already know about the problems faced during residency there from friends or seniors and prefer to not take the JJ ophthal seat at all, but then some have no choice left and others are simply ignorant of whats awaiting them. Let me tell you and the whole world, JJ ophthal residency is pure hell and I would not want even my enemies to go through what me and my seniors went through in 3 years. The extent to which doing PG in JJ ophthal can affect one’s self esteem and confidence and cause one mental and physical torture, makes doing residency there worthless. Just to give an idea , this is what we underwent while being residents there.

    1. There is NO TEACHING at all. There is no teaching programme no curriculum. Seminars, lectures and presentations are non existent and unheard off, which are necessary for a resident to understand his speciality and learn and work. They take fake attendance signatures on lectures which never happened so they can show the world that everything is good here.

    2. If some honorary professor tried teaching us on their own because they used to see us work like donkeys and feel for us, Dr Ragini would start shouting at the honorary professor and hurl abuses at the resident for being “kamchor” and being there just to learn and not to work. So, the knowledge hungry residents like me kept looking for chances to get at least 5 mins with the honoraries while others just resigned to their fate and kept counting the days left to finish PG. I am sure no honorary will confirm to this fact because they too are afraid to come out against the so called ‘BIG NAMES’ in ophthalmology.

    3. If we made any mistake (mistakes like drinking water because one is thirsty) or even without mistakes, they would shout at us in a hall full of patients and used very personal comments like “ gandi aurat / aadmi”, “ kaise parents honge jo ye sikhaya tumhe”, “ joote se maarungi”. Well, these are the ones which were very civil to hear, others I can’t even write here.

    4. They would never rotate the postings or duties. All they did, was see how to use someone to the best of their interests. If a resident was made to assist during surgeries, he will keep on doing that through out the residency. If one is given the duty of blocking patients(pre operative anaesthesia) then thats what he will keep on doing. In the end , all we became are ophthal assistants with near zero surgical skills and not ophthalmologists. We will have to spend one or two more years in some other institute post PG just to learn basic ophthal procedures.

    5. We used to have our lunch at 5 pm or later on a very regular basis. Breakfast is a term we forgot for the 3 years we were there and we, the doctors, only teach people that it is the most important meal of the day. They expected us to have breakfast before 6:30 am which was the time we used to come to the wards daily by the latest, time when you won’t find even the hostel canteen open. Some senior nurses who took pity on our condition used to keep a watch to see if someone is coming or not so we can gobble some breakfast as if it’s a big crime to do that. Sometimes the nurses used to make us eat forcefully because they worried about us and treated us like kids. If by any chance, Dr Ragini saw us eating she would insult the nurse like anything,scare the hell out of her and shout at us as if we have committed murder. And then we would work non stop till 5pm or later before having lunch. When we had to pee, we used to go secretly, if Dr Ragini found out she would blast us like anything calling us names like “kamchor” , “nikamma”, “nalayak”. Coming at 6:30 to the wards is not the problem because we know if the patients are more we have to work long hours, but atlas give us 10 mins in between to have breakfast. We are 6 students per batch, how much time does it take to give residents 10 mins to eat by rotation.

    6. If some VIP used to visit, she would make the female residents serve tea or food which is clearly not the duty a resident is supposed to do but the ward boys. And she would shout if the girls make some mistake, like have you been taught nothing at your home? Well, our parents sent us there to study and not to do these chores. Of course one doesn’t mind serving food to teachers and colleagues willingly but you can’t force students to serve like that.

    7. I am ashamed to say that a resident after 3 years here cannot perform a single conventional SICS independently with confidence, leave alone phaco cataract surgery which is taught to residents everywhere and the few who could do SICS was not at all because the HOD taught them. It is expected that an ophthal resident should be able to do at least SICS independently after 3 years of residency,which is not the case at all here. Almost 100 surgeries are performed on every OT day, but the residents never get a single case per OT regularly . And how will the students get? These people are so cataract and record hungry that they have forgotten, it is a teaching institute also. All they are behind, is their record and their number of surgeries.The residents learn or not is not their problem at all.

    8. They lie blatantly when they say that they don’t give surgeries to students because they are worried about the patients. We have seen them fighting with each other if one of them does more cataracts than the other. We have seen them treat patients like shit many times. If a patient is thankful after the surgery,they will behave as if they are gods, but if a patient complains and is not happy with the result then we have seen them shouting at the patient, calling them ‘mad’ , ‘ungrateful’, telling the ward boy t throw them out of their cabin. So, all they are worried about is their record, how much surgeries they do, how can they be the leading cataract operators in India, how fast can they get the awards. They are so selfish.

    9. Teaching a resident how to operate needs patience and time which they never had because they were busy making their own records, getting into Guinness book and Women of the year. If one hears her talking he will know that she is worse than the rowdy drunken guy seen on a street, such is the level of her language with the residents.

    10. If by chance you are married or pregnant, then life for you is worse than hell here. I don’t know what they have against married or pregnant residents ,I think they feel that will reduce their ‘being donkey’ capability. She would use such foul language like ‘ biwi ke saath soye hoge sari raat toh kaam kaise karoge’ , ‘kisne bola tha pregnant hone ko’. How can one work in such conditions with a sane mind? What a resident, married or not, does in his/her spare time is none of their business.

    11. I remember and have heard about one super senior who was very punctual and obedient and the HOD was giving him hell. His wife had severe abdominal pain and was admitted to JJ casualty , she was tossing and turning in bed but Dr Ragini didn’t allow the resident to go and attend to her because who will give block to patients for her to operate then. His wife was diagnosed with ruptured ectopic pregnancy (which is a surgical emergency) and was crying and still he could not go to even see her. She was being taken care of by his friends of other dept and was taken into emergency OT . When he asked for leave to go at least for an hour she told him “tere pet mein keede pade and that I pray that you never become a father”. Such is the scale of their harassment. You can imagine how to live and work for 3 years in such conditions.

    12. One other senior contracted pulmonary kochs(chest TB) while working because of working non stop and no time to eat. Work is not the problem, but not being able to eat properly daily or even use the bathroom accompanied by the mental torture they put one through makes the residency worst as if you are in a prison or camp. When the resident asked for leave as she was infective and was advised by her physician not to treat patients, the HOD abused her daily, telling that all this is an excuse for not working and to stand 12 feet away while talking. They would not want the resident to come near them but wanted her to keep on working and treat patients.

    13. Same way they made one more resident stand outside the HOD office everyday from morning to evening for one whole month as part of punishment. Once she made a resident stand in sweltering heat as punishment and he fainted. One resident tried committing suicide. In recent batches too, she made life hell for girls and guys who were friendly with each other or in a relationship. She would call their parents and humiliate them for stupid reasons. We are adults and which residency course says that you cannot dress nicely or talk nicely to the opposite sex or go out, everyone is entitled to a personal life which is zero here and one is made to look like a criminal or an untouchable for having one. Many residents underwent depression due to all this and lack of will to work.There are innumerable such instances but can’t write everything. They would whine if a particular batch has more female candidates because they needed sturdy guys for their work. This is how they think.

    14. Such are the manners of these people that our seniors had seen them fighting physically, raising hands on each other and kicking ,biting,pulling each others hair and hurling shoes at each other, stopped only when the staff intervened. So you can see how such a HOD will treat her residents.

    15. Some residents who have finished their residency have done less than 10 cataract surgeries in the 3 years. And the reason she gives for such small number of surgeries given to the residents is that they are not good at operating. Well, how will one become good if you won’t teach them and guide and be there or let others teach them how to operate? If there would be some complication because of operating unsupervised, they will stop giving surgery for months together instead of teaching the resident basic steps of a surgery in the first place. How can one expect a student operate nicely on the first case itself even if they had practiced on goats eyes many times. And she would not even let the honoraries teach the students how to operate.We have some very talented honoraries who really want to teach but they cannot. If they try, she would tell them ‘what are you trying to do? Look better in the residents eyes?’. Then she would tell the residents that these honoraries are just misleading them, when all the residents wanted was some knowledge, some clinical tips. Even if you see 500 patients a day but you don’t have anyone to explain or teach about the case ,all that treasure of patients is of no use.

    16. The above mentioned were incidents which happened to previous batches, to know what we go through still now please click on the link, watch and share it as much as you can :-https://youtu.be/pqJzHNl5OEM

    Thats why they should be punished and should be relieved of their status as a PG guides because all that they have done, is ruin the future of the students. JJ is a very reputed institute, but JJ ophthal seats fills up later than even periphery colleges because everyone knows what they make the residents go through.

    We all know that residency is hard work and not a piece of cake. One needs to work hard to learn so much and believe me most residents are ready to work that much and more, provided they get to learn clinical aspects and surgeries. If you want to continue treating residents like this then I guess JJ ophthal should not get PG residents. It should not be a teaching institute at all.

    Meanwhile, MARD has announced the withdrawal of strike and resident doctors will join the work from 6 pm on 09/04/2016. It is described in Central MARD press note in a Facebook post:

    Central MARD press note:
    ” today , there was meeting between tawdeji and MARD ..also, there was hearing in high court ..mard has got what we were hoping and much more.

    1. independent enquiry committee headed by retired high court judge .
    2. FIRST TIME IN HISTORY of MARD , two MARD members will be part of this committee to ensure that there is a fair investigation
    3. the court has asked government to do everything possible to prevent victimisation of residents in future.
    4. the two doctors will not be examiners or teachers for the ophthalmology resident doctors. .
    5. to prevent victimisation, entire ophthalmology department will be under total cctv surveillance within 7 days

    Considering all the above, central MARD calls of the mass bunk and resident doctors will resume duties at 6pm.

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