As the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) strike enters its seventh day, frustrated patients at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi, are bearing the brunt of the industrial action as doctors are not attending to patients in hospitals.
Some of the patients expressed the view that there was the need for a judicial scrutiny of the doctors strike, arguing that incessant strikes by doctors was a breach of the oath they took to care for patients.
When THISDAY visited the male and female medical wards, only few patients were seen on admission while those coming from the rural areas seeking medical attention had no doctor to attend to them.
However at the antenatal clinic, which handles over 12 patients daily, consultants doctors were attending to pregnant women.
A nurse, who does not want her name mentioned said pregnant women were given medical attention during the strike in order to avoid any complication that might endanger the lives of mothers and babies.
According to her, “pregnancy can sometimes bring some complication for a mother and her baby, so pregnant women need constant medical attention to keep them healthy.”
“we don’t want a situation whereby a pregnant woman suffers because of the strike and that is why those patients with emergency cases would be attended to.”
Doctors in compliance with the NMA directives stayed away from the dental, eye, surgical and ophthalmology, but only few patients with emergency cases were given medical attention by consultants.
A patient, Bernard Ekpebide, who was supported by his spouse to alight from his car said he had been in severe pain due to inflammation of his appendix. He said he was told by doctors that his case possibly required surgery.
He said, “ my wife will take me to either Rimi Clinic or Lima Hospital to see a doctor. I have decided to have the surgery at a private hospital, even if it will cost me more because I am going through serious pains and cannot wait.”
The Acting Chief Medical Director, Dr. Yusuf Jibril, said that the doctors in the hospital were still on strike in compliance with the directive of NMA.
“The strike is still in progress in the hospital, according to the directive of the national leadership of the association. For now, only emergency cases are being attended to while those with minor cases are advised to seek medical attention in other hospitals,” he said.