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Times of India
08 September 2010

Medical students fill in for class III and IV workers at State–run hospitals to defeat Tuesday’s strike
While over 50 patients in Rajasthan died following the resident doctors’ strike there, more than 200 medical and nursing students in the city on Tuesday stood for everything that is noble about their chosen profession.

Pravin Shinde became liftman for a day Pravin Shinde became liftman for a day
The students filled in for more than 3,000 class III and IV workers, who did not report to work at the State–run J J, Cama, St George’s and G T Hospital due to the nation–wide strike by trade unions. In their absence, students operated lifts, wheeled in and out patients, handled calls, and prepared and distributed food in the wards.

Supporting the students were the cops and Home Guard personnel, who took over the responsibility of taking the dead to mortuaries. Only those patients who needed immediate surgeries were operated upon.

The students, who reported for various duties as early as 6 am on Tuesday, continued throughout the day and into the night, said they learnt the most important lesson of their career — patients’ convenience above all else.

Prerit Sharma, 20, took over as telephone operator at J J Hospital, and was assisted by his classmate Akshay Wakade. He said, "We ensured that all calls, whether from patients’ relatives, or inquiries about admissions, were attended to. We can say that the ‘telephone department’ functioned smoothly."

Another student, Praveen Shinde, filled in as liftman.
"I enjoyed my role," he laughed, "Giving priority to patients on stretchers, ensuring smooth flow of visitors... I learnt a lot, besides realising the importance of doing one’s job with a smile at all times."

Siddhant Pawar, Tejas Dhage and their batchmates took on the responsibility of preparing and distributing food to 1,500 patients across 49 wards in J J Hospital, while Abhijeet Anjan and his friends took over ward and clerical duties.

Dr T P Lahane, the dean of all State–run hospitals, was full of praise for the students. He said, "These youngsters have preliminary exams on September 20, but they have already passed the bigger exam.

"We requested them to come and help us combat the strike, and they rose to the challenge." Dr Lahane’s views were echoed by Dr Subhash Kewat, resident medical officer, G T Hospital. "I applaud the nursing students, who were just fantastic. They prepared food, and attended to the patients like veterans."

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