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Nepal doctor strike leaves patients without healthcare

KATMANDU, Nepal -- A strike by doctors in Nepal left tens of thousands of patients with access only to emergency care Monday as physicians demanded sweeping changes to the country's medical education system.

The protesters say political appointees should not hold top positions at government hospitals; instead, they say, the schools must be entirely independent. The strike began Sunday and around 4,000 doctors are taking part, according to the Nepal Medical Association.

The strike caused major slowdowns at hospitals across Nepal, a poor country where people often travel long distances from rural areas to seek medical care.

“I have no idea what is going on or when I will get the treatment,” said Suraj Biswokarma, 22, who lost his left arm in an accident and could barely speak because of the pain Monday. He traveled for days to reach Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital in Katmandu after a local clinic in a village stabilized him.

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