“Patients still keep coming,” Sheeja Thomas said pointing at the two women walking into the compound of the PVS Memorial Hospital in Kochi. Sheeja had joined the hospital as a clerk 11 years ago. But for the past three months, though, she has been jobless and is a regular at the sit-in protest in front of the hospital, which is carried out in two shifts from 8 am to 6 pm.
Many others like Sheeja are opposing the total shutdown of the 200-plus bed hospital on 10 May 2019. The 500 medical and non-medical staff members at the hospital had been completely clueless about the financial dark hole they were being sucked into.
About a year ago in early 2018, the Kochi branch staff had started facing delays in receiving their salaries. “Whenever we approached the management, we were paid something like Rs 5,000. Then we would be paid once in two months,” says Lisamma, who was a lab technician at the hospital for the past 24 years.