The Jakarta Post
Many patients across the archipelago were denied medical services on Wednesday as many doctors took to the streets to protest the Supreme Court's decision to send three of their colleagues to prison.
Khairuddin, a patient at the Pringadi General Hospital in Medan, was disappointed to discover there were no doctors available to see him.
He was also upset that the doctors were absent showing their solidarity with the three convicted doctors.
'They should be helping the public who need their services instead of going on strike,' Khairuddin told The Jakarta Post.
Hospital spokesman, Edison Perangin-angin, denied that patients were abandoned as some doctors were still available at the emergency room.
The Supreme Court ruled on Sept. 12, 2012, that obstetrician-gynecologists Dewa Ayu Sasiary Prawani, Hendy Siagian and Hendry Simanjuntak were guilty of negligence that led to the death of Julia Fransiska Maketey after delivering her baby by Caesarian section in Manado, North Sulawesi in 2010.
Ayu was arrested at a hospital in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan, on Nov. 8 and Hendry at his house in Medan on Saturday while Hendy's whereabouts are still unknown.
Ayu and Hendry denied being on the run, simply that they had moved to other posts.
The doctors have been sentenced to 10-month jail terms at Manado's Malendeng Penitentiary.
Meanwhile, Julia's mother, Yulin Mahengkeng condemned the strike saying the three doctors were negligent in carrying out their duties.
'They were only sentenced to 10-month jail terms so they'll still be fit when they get out of the jail,' she told reporters in Makassar. 'But my daughter will never return.'
She said the doctors waited for 12 hours before performing the Caesarian section and insisted Julia buy medicine worth Rp 1.32 million (US$111) although she only had Rp 200,000 at that time.
In Bandung some 200 doctors from various specializations staged a rally to protest against the ruling.
Chairman of the West Java chapter of the Indonesian Obstetrician and Gynecologist Association (POGI), Yudi Mulyana Hidayat said criminalizing doctors could have a negative impact as doctors would be hesitant in carrying out medical procedures.
Doctors also held a discussion on the issue at Padjadjaran University's School of Medicine.
Patients seeking treatment at Makassar's Wahidin Sudirohusodo General Hospital, Haj Hospital and Labaung Baji Hospital were referred to emergency rooms.
In Batam, Riau Islands, the absence of doctors forced patients to return home. Security guard at the Embung Fatimah General Hospital, Heru Susanto, said hospital management had told admissions staff to ask people seeking medical treatment to return in the afternoon or evening.
One patient, Novia Sembiring, said most hospitals and clinics, including private ones, were not operating.
In Mataram, some 100 doctors from various hospitals staged a rally in front of West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Prosecutor's Office leaving only four doctors on standby at the emergency room of West Nusa Tenggara General Hospital.
NTB Governor M Zainul Majdi condemned the strike saying the doctors should not neglect the public's right to medical access.
Similar rallies were also held in Gorontalo, Bantul and Bandar Lampung demanding law enforcers not criminalize doctors
A public policy activist in Lampung, Aryanto Yusuf, criticized the rally as an expression of doctors' arrogance and a danger to patients' lives.
Arya Dipa, Fadli, Panca Nugraha, Syamsul Huda M. Suhari, Slamet Susanto and Oyos Saroso HN contributed to the article from Bandung, Mataram, Gorontalo, Bantul and Bandar lampung.
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