Outdoor medical services at Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) remained suspended on Tuesday, causing immense suffering to the patients, as intern doctors went on work abstention to press home their five-point demand.
The striking interns kept the gates of the outdoor unit of the hospital under lock and key from morning to noon and staged a demonstration there.
They formed a human chain holding placards with slogans demanding punishment for the people who were responsible for the assault on doctors and security at physicians' workplaces.
Patients and their attendants coming to the outdoor from various parts of the country looked perplexed at the sudden work-stoppage of the interns.
Suraya Akter came to the hospital from the city's Jatrabari area to get treatment for her kidney-related complications.
"I really don't understand what to do now. The gates to the outdoor are locked for hours," she said.
She also said she did not know what happened there, but the disruption put her in a big trouble.
"I managed leave for one day from my employer to come here," said Suraya, who works for an apparel factory.
Many patients were seen waiting with serious concern around the outdoor unit.
The hospital provides healthcare services at its outdoor unit from 8.00am to 2.00pm.
The demonstrating interns, joined by other staffs, were holding placards showing their demands for special security force at the DMCH, finalisation of the Medical Services Act to safeguard the physicians' interest and better visitor management at the hospital.
Intern doctor Mostafizur Rahman Mostak said the healthcare facilities at the hospital always remain occupied with so many people.
"We try our best to help the patients but often additional number of visitors makes our duty unbearable," he said.
He also said the assault on a doctor on the hospital premises by outsiders is completely unacceptable.
"If our demands are not met, the overall environment of the hospital will not improve despite our sincerity," he said, adding several unexpected incidents happened at the hospital in last several months.
The interns later suspended the work-stoppage programme for a week upon assurance from the hospital authorities and health minister to meet their demands.
Contacted, General Secretary of Intern Doctors Association (IDA) of the DMCH Mosharraf Hossain Sijan on Tuesday evening said: "We suspended our agitation after we got assurance from authorities concerned to fulfill our demand."
"We shall observe the situation for a week and then declare next programmes," he said.
More than 200 intern doctors are working at the DMCH, sources said.
Earlier, a patient from old Dhaka, Nawshad Ahemd, 52, died at the hospital on Sunday afternoon after he had been admitted to the hospital' s coronary care unit on the previous day.
After his death, some outsiders related to Nawshad assaulted the doctor and Ansar members blaming them for negligence, which triggered a clash between hospital staffs and them.
A doctor of the hospital, Shamimur Rahman, broke his arm in the incident.
Following the clash, emergency services at the hospital remained suspended from 2.00pm to 5.00pm on Sunday.
On the same day, the DMCH authorities handed over two of the 'outsiders' to police.