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Friday, May 29, 2020

‘Harassment’ by faculty: AIIMS resident doctor attempts suicide

The woman had met AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria about 10 days ago and raised the issue with him, officials said.

Written by Shivam Patel | New Delhi | Updated: April 20, 2020 11:37:51 am
Fight against COVID-19: Behind Kerala's flattening curve, involvement of community The AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) has written about the issue to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

A senior resident doctor at the AIIMS Centre for Dental Education and Research (CDER) tried to commit suicide Friday, allegedly over sexual and caste-based harassment by a faculty member from the department.

Officials said she had earlier raised the issue with the AIIMS administration. On Friday evening, she allegedly took excessive medication and overdosed. She is admitted in the ICU at AIIMS. Her condition is stable and she is recovering, AIIMS registrar Dr Sanjeev Lalwani said.

The woman had met AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria about 10 days ago and raised the issue with him, officials said.

Dr Guleria said, “The sexual harassment committee had issued a showcause notice to the faculty. It had also started an enquiry, and so has the chief of the department.”

“I have asked the department to expedite the matter and hold the enquiry on fast track. An enquiry is also being conducted on caste-based grievances… both are serious issues and proper enquiry is to be done,” Dr Guleria said.

He said the administration is recovering CCTV footage as part of the enquiry. The senior resident doctor was about to complete her tenure at the CDER in six months.

Her husband said on Sunday that her condition was sensitive and he could not comment on the incident. The AIIMS Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) has written about the issue to Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.

“Despite multiple letters, there has been no adequate action taken to address this issue, eventually leading the resident to the edge… The reluctant behaviour of administration and the institute committee led the resident to take such an extreme step of inflicting self-harm,” the RDA alleged in the letter.

The association claimed that the resident had written at least three letters about the issue over the past month to the administration, in addition to those sent to women’s grievance cell, SC-ST welfare cell at AIIMS and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes.

A resident doctor at AIIMS claimed, “The department had initiated a preliminary enquiry a few days back… A second, internal enquiry was held on Friday and on the same night she took this step.”

Another resident doctor said the resident wrote the first letter on March 16 and had continued working in the department. “The faculty whom she complained against had also made counter allegations,” the RDA member said.

A medico-legal case has been made for the police, who will conduct an enquiry.

Dr Lalwani said, “We have ensured that the student is taken care of. The chief of her department is following up on the issue. Our first priority is to make the student comfortable.”

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