Dr Govinda KC’s health ‘critical’

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KATHMANDU, MAR 31 – On the ninth day of his fast-unto-death, the health of Dr Govinda KC deteriorated further on Monday with doctors saying that he might need critical care anytime soon.

Dr Dibya Singh, who has been attending to Dr KC, said his heart beat dropped rapidly on Sunday night and was eased immediately. The level of potassium and magnesium levels are decreasing gradually while acetone in urine has shot up, indicating grave impacts of starvation on his health.

Potassium and magnesium have an important role in muscle functioning especially in the heart. Slight changes in the combination of the salts can prove fatal, doctors warned. Oxygen saturation in his body was said to be low.

“He might need critical care if his health deteriorates further. We cannot risk his life,” said Dr Singh, adding that they were in consultation with other doctors regarding Dr KC’s health. However, the senior orthopaedic surgeon has asked his supporters not to transfer him to the intensive care unit.

Hundreds of students, professionals and general public gathered on the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital premises in Maharajgunj on Monday to express solidarity with the campaign. They later marched to Baluwatar to press Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to address the demands of Dr KC.

They observed a minute’s silence in a symbolic protest, saying that the state was dead. The medical fraternity has announced an agitation programme to save the ailing doctor. The Nepal Resident Doctors’ Association at the Institute of Medicine has decided to pull all its doctors out of the TU Teaching Hospital. NRDA President Dr Ram Chandra Sapkota said they were forced to take the move to press the government to address their demands.

Meanwhile, Dr KC’s campaign has gained support from various political parties. On Monday, the UCPN (Maoist)-led 30-party alliance expressed its solidarity with the hunger strike.

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal visited Dr KC in Maharajgunj on Monday morning. “We express our solidarity with the campaign,” Dahal told media persons. He said he would urge the prime minister to address the demands.

Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal expressed its support to the fast, asking the government to address his demands immediately.

Dr KC is on his fifth hunger strike putting forth 10 demands that include withholding new medical affiliations until a medical education policy is formulated.