The traumatic experience of a three-year-old rape victim who refused to be even touched by the doctors attending to her, at the JP District Hospital here, has highlighted the acute need for training of doctors dealing with such cases.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, when apprised of this case by HT on Monday evening, said steps will be taken to sensitise and train doctors who deal with child rape victims.
The toddler, suspected to be mentally-challenged, was brought to the district hospital on March 5 after she was raped by her own father and was so traumatised that she did not allow any of the doctors to come near her, let alone treat her. It took four lady doctors -- including two gynaecologists, a paediatrician and the hospital superintendent Veena Sinha (also a gynaecologist) -- about two hours to calm the child, and thereafter check her injuries and start treatment.
"She kept howling and refused to be touched probably suspecting that everyone was out to hurt her. She had clenched her feet and it was difficult to check her injuries," Dr Sinha told HT. It came as a relief, when the doctors found that her injuries were not critical. "The girl is mentally weak, unable to speak and remains withdrawn most of the time," the superintendent added.
The three-year-old has been kept at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Centre of the hospital so that she could be with other children and recover faster both physically and mentally.
Dr Sinha said that while there are certain guidelines available for handling and treating rape victims, especially children, teamwork of sensitive doctors is absolutely necessary for proper management.
Chairperson of State Women's Commission Upma Rai said doctors have to be sensitised about handling and treating of rape victims, especially the victimised children. “Doctors should be trained psychologically so they can handle the victim and deal with the situation calmly and efficiently,” she said, adding that either the hospitals should have psychologists on staff or have a panel of private doctors who could be called during emergencies. Also child counsellors should be on standby for managing the child victims, the women’s panel chief told HT.
The chief medical and health officer (CMHO) Pankaj Shukla, who is a paediatrician, said there presently exists no training manual or apparatus for doctors or other hospital staff when it comes to treating rape victims. Training would help doctors cope with the situation better and provide psychological and physical healing, Dr Shukla said.
Senior paediatrician Dr Sheela Bhambal said a team of gynaecologist, psychiatrist, surgeon and paediatrician should be available at hospitals, for such cases. Even policemen posted at hospitals for security of child rape victims often have a negative psychological impact on them, she pointed out.