BENGALURU: Thousands of patients, many of whom had traveled to the city from other states for medical appointments were left in the lurch after hospitals across the state shut their out patient departments and withdrew all non-essential services, on Monday, in solidarity with the Indian Medical Association’s call for a nationwide strike condemning the attack by kin of a patient on a doctor, in Kolkata recently. A large number of patients were seen waiting outside hospitals, unaware of the strike and hoping to get treatment. Out patient wards at NIMHANS, M S Ramaiah Hospital, BMRC Hospital and Apollo hospitals remained shut on Monday, causing chaos. Siddhesh, who had come from Chitradurga with his mother and Manik from Bengal, who had an appointment for his two-year-old child suffering from brain tumour, were seen waiting outside NIMHANS early Monday morning. “We have come all the way from Bhardhaman in West Bengal for our child’s treatment here at NIMHANS. We had a screening test scheduled today and even our tickets back are already booked. This strike today has caused us major inconvenience,” said Debaditya Mukherjee, father of six-year-old Debanwita Mukherje, both of whom were seen camped outside NIMHANS hospital, on Monday. Ashima M (38) was also found waiting outside the hospital with her three-year-old child Riya. “If the OPDs were scheduled to be closed, why were we given appointments for today,” she rued. Anjaney (70), who had come all the way to BMRC Hospital from Andra Pradesh, said, “I have come all the way from Andra Pradesh with my wife Subhadham for an appointment for a surgery.” Meanwhile, doctors at BMRC were found engaged in a silent protest outside the ‘medicine’ ward of the hospital, holding placards that read ‘Zero Tolerance on Abuse of Doctors’ and ‘Save Doctors’. “Whatever we doctors do is always for the best management of the patient. The society should take cognizance of this fact and create conducive environment for healthcare workers where we can discharge our duties without worrying about our safety. This calls for a tough legislation to protect healthcare workers. At Apollo, we have suspended non-essential out patient services and only our emergency and essential services are running as usual,” said Dr Arun Naik, consultant neurologist and neurosurgeon, Apollo Hospitals, Bengaluru.