A woman doctor was allegedly molested by a patient’s attendant at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital on Friday, prompting agitated doctors to demand more security in the wards.
Dr Meeta Maheshwari (name changed), a junior resident at the Burns and Plastics ward, was molested by 19-year-old Captan who was a patient, identified as being with Guddi in the ophthalmology ward.
“Women are not even safe at the hospitals. Lack of security guards and a laidback attitude of the hospital administration has made it difficult for women employees who have to work surrounded by strangers at late hours in the night,” says Dr Mrigank Sharma, president, Resident Doctors’ Association, GTB.
Dr Maheshwari was molested at 8.40 am in front of the burns ward. In a written complaint to Dr PC Dixit, Medical Superintendent at GTB, Maheshwari wrote: “Captan tried to molest me at 8.40 this morning in front of the burns ward and tried to run away before being caught by people. While I was chasing him, there was no security guard in view, and the guard came much later after the public had caught Captan.” In October last year, a patient’s attendant had beaten up a junior doctor at GTB Hospital.
Women doctors at most medical colleges feel unsafe. “The situation is no better in other hospitals and teaching institutes. A woman doctor was raped at ESI hospital’s hostel last year, again because there was no security provided,” says Dr Sharma.
In 2002, a resident doctor was raped outside the Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) gate in the heart of Delhi. Abhishek Bansal, Union President of MAMC claims things are better since then. “The institute posted a team of 30 guards from Directorate General for Resettlement in the college premises for better vigilance. There are 10 guards on campus at any given time.”
Things haven’t help. “The campus is not well-lit and we have had break-ins. With women walking about alone from one ward to the other, security is all we ask for,” says a resident doctor.
“Our institute works as a thoroughfare with people pouring in from all corners. The security is lax and no kind of screening is done,” complained a second-semester student at MAMC.
In a similar vein, a final-semester student said, “Although there is a guard on duty at the Old Girls hostel, but the fact remains that there is no check on incoming visitors- nobody asks for identity proofs and at a lot of times just about anybody can enter.” The students also said that since a lot of surgery lectures get over around 10.30-11.00 at night, they prefer to walk back to hostels in groups.
The lady resident doctors at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) also had similar complaints. “The campus is so vast and the hospital receives over 8000-9000 footfalls of patients everyday, security shall always remain an issue here,” said Dr Priya Sen (name changed) senior resident doctor.
Doctors at Safdarjung Hospital laugh when you mention security. “You can see it for yourself, how many of the guards posted are really doing their duty. Eve teasing and ogling are issues we have almost learned to ignore,” says a women doctor.