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Normality returning to JPMC after clash

KARACHI, Aug 21: Although the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC) started to return to normality on Monday - five days after a clash between two groups that left a student dead - protesting students kept the gynaecology department closed for hours.

According to hospital sources, while police, Rangers and the hospital's watch and ward staff kept a watchful eye on troublemakers, the protesting students struck near the obstetrics and gynaecology (O&G) department and wards 8 and 9 at around 9.30am.

A source said that the O&G department, which resumed functioning on Monday, was closed again when the protesting group of students created panic and forced the "patients and the medical staff" to leave the premises.

Upon receiving information of the incident, the security personnel, focusing mainly on administrative offices, the casualty department and the OPDs, rushed to the site and brought the situation under control.

After the incident, the ward in question wore a deserted look even at around 3pm, while about half a dozen policemen were seen posted at the entry point and corridors of the gynaecology wards.

When contacted over the phone, the doctor in charge of the O&G department, Prof Shireen Z. Bhutta, said that working remained suspended for some time after a smooth start in the morning. Overall, the wards in question and the relevant emergency section functioned very much during the day, while patients reported for medical interventions and a couple of deliveries were also performed, she said. Another source claimed that a scare prevailed at the obstetrics and gynaecology department after the act of hooliganism. In the meantime, all out-patients' departments which were due on Monday were reopened again to patients as Rangers and police were seen deployed at sensitive places.

A senior doctor expressed the hope that things would normalise in a couple of days, adding that medical OPDs did work considerably, while surgical set-ups faced difficulties in retuning due to absence of the staff concerned and limited activities on radiological side and laboratories.

The emergency and casualty department of the JPMC also functioned peacefully as the law-enforcement forces remained present nearby.

Following an administrative decision, the security staff of the hospital with the support of Rangers and police also removed flags and banners of various political outfits.

A senior doctor said the graffiti would be removed soon and the hospital administration was considering a plan to depoliticise the health complex to avoid such incidents or inconvenience to the patients due to internal or external elements. Dawn
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