Indonesia: Patients abandoned as doctors stage rally

Many people in Greater Jakarta were unable to receive medical services on Wednesday as doctors were staging a rally to protest the Supreme Court’s decision to send three of their colleagues to prison for malpractice in Manado, North Sulawesi.

Tuti, 30, said she had to cancel her pregnancy check-up at the city-owned Budhi Asih Hospital in East Jakarta because her doctor joined the rally.

“I’m six-months pregnant now. Yesterday I had an appointment for a pregnancy check up at the Cipinang Muara community health center in East Jakarta but I was transferred here. I thought the doctor had not gone to the rally, so I came here,” Tuti said, as quoted by

Budhi Asih Hospital spokesperson Hamonangan Sirait said that the hospital halted its outpatient services because 20 out of its 50 doctors were joining the rally.

“We will continue treating emergency patients as usual even though all the polyclinics are closed temporarily,” he said, adding that five doctors were on duty at the emergency room.

Other patients at the city-owned Koja Hospital in North Jakarta went home without medical treatment.

Koja Hospital president director Togi Asman said that only five out of its 18 polyclinics — pediatric, cardiology, neurology and surgical clinics — were operational with 74 doctors on duty. Wati, 59, who was accompanying his mother Azizah, 80, decided to go back to the hospital next week because they had already waited for too long to see the doctor at the neurology clinic.

“I will come back on Monday because today the line is too long,” said Wati after waiting for four-and-a-half hours.

Meanwhile, Yuni, 37, failed to have a checkup for her baby because the polyclinic was closed. “[The hospital management] told me to come back tomorrow,” said Yuni.

There are seven city-owned hospitals throughout the city that treats between 100 and 200 patients daily on average thanks to the Jakarta Health Card (KJS) free-of-charge service. At least 80 hospitals took part in the healthcare program out of a total of 142 hospitals.

In their rally in Jakarta, hundreds of doctors wore black ribbons on their white coats. They walked from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle to the Supreme Court building and the Presidential Palace.

In Tangerang, Banten, hundreds of doctors and students of medicine staged a solidarity rally at the Veterans Traffic Circle and at the Tangerang prosecutors office on Jl. TMP Taruna.

Chairman of the Indonesian Doctors Association Zainal Abidin told The Jakarta Post that the total number of doctors joining Wednesday’s rally reached 2,000.

They staged the rally in solidarity to the three doctors — Dewa Ayu Sasiary, Hendry Simanjuntak and Hendy Siagian — who were accused of malpractice against Julia Fransiska Maketey during a caesarian section at the Prof. Kandauw Hospital in Manado. Julia died while her baby survived.

Commenting on the solidarity act, Jakarta Health Agency head Dien Emmawati said at the Slipi community health center in West Jakarta that the rally did not affect services at city-owned hospitals.

“I have checked some hospitals and the situations are under control. The patients seem to be aware that the doctors are staging a rally today, only a few patients are visiting the hospitals,” said Dien, who had a black ribbon on her arm to show her support for the solidarity act.

The city administration, which launched the KJS healthcare program last year, is keen to improve public health services in the capital by, among other efforts, introducing an open-call selection of community health center (puskesmas) heads.