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AIIMS resident doctor attempts suicide over ‘caste and gender discrimination’

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AIIMS building in New Delhi | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint


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New Delhi: A resident doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) attempted suicide Sunday over alleged caste and gender discrimination. 

The condition of the doctor, who is in her late 30s, is stable, according to the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) at AIIMS.

She is studying dentistry and belongs to a Scheduled Caste. No FIR has been lodged yet.

The RDA raised the matter with Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Sunday.

Calling it a “serious event of caste and gender-based discrimination”, the RDA wrote to the minister saying the “reluctant behaviour of the (AIIMS) administration… led the resident doctor to take such an extreme step of inflicting self-harm”.

“She tried killing herself by medicine overdose but we are relieved that her condition is stable now,” RDA president Adarsh Pratap Singh told ThePrint.

Taking action, says AIIMS

AIIMS public relations officer B.N. Acharya told ThePrint Monday morning they haven’t received any formal complaint in connection with the incident, but have taken cognisance of it and are taking action.

ThePrint texted Acharya in the afternoon for a comment on the allegation that AIIMS failed to take action to stop the discrimination, but is yet to get a response.

DCP (South) Atul Kumar Thakkar said the police haven’t received any formal complaint and, therefore, no FIR has been filed in the case yet. “Once an FIR is filed, we will take action accordingly.” 

AIIMS police station in-charge Iqpal Singh told ThePrint: “She has been saying that she is not in a condition to speak and that is why the FIR has not been filed.”

Delhi Police Special Branch officer Mange Ram said it wouldn’t take much for the doctor to file a complaint.

“She should dial 100 and file a complaint. Unless there is a formal complaint, there will not be any action,” said Ram.


Also read: Ex-BBC Hindi employee claims he was sacked after alleging caste discrimination in office


‘Harassed by senior male doctor’

An RDA member, who didn’t want to be named, told ThePrint the resident doctor has been facing caste-based and gender harassment at the hands of a senior male doctor for the last one year.

The RDA, in its letter, said the doctor informed the AIIMS authorities several times about the discrimination she faced, but still no action was taken.

She had written three letters last month to the AIIMS administration, regarding the discrimination. This apart, she had also written to the women’s grievances cell, the SC-ST welfare association at the AIIMS and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes but “no appropriate action has been taken”, the letter stated.

All these “forced the complainant to take such an extreme step”, it added.

The RDA said the association too had informed the AIIMS authorities about the discrimination.

The RDA has appealed to the AIIMS administration and the health ministry now to expedite the process of delivering justice to the complainant, according to the letter.


Also read: The nauseating nepotism and caste-based discrimination that exists in Indian judiciary


 

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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’

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A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay


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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”


Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot


‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.


Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


 

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