Doctor booked for sexually harassing nurse on Covid duty in P’kula hospital
Psychiatrist appeared to be drunk when he ‘harassed’ the nurse in the Covid-19 isolation ward; police post in hospital did not register FIR, women’s commission not ‘satisfied with hospital report’Updated: Jul 15, 2020 00:00 IST
A doctor believed to be under the influence of alcohol was booked by police for allegedly sexually harassing a nurse on Covid-19 duty at the Civil Hospital in Sector 6, Panchkula on Saturday. There was high drama at the hospital on Tuesday as the nurse’s colleagues roughed him up while an inquiry was being conducted against him.
Dr Manoj Kumar, a psychiatrist, appeared to be under the influence of alcohol when he assaulted the 26-year-old nurse. He was sent on “deputation” for 60 days by authorities.
However, as the hospital dragged its feet in acting against the doctor, the Haryana State Commission For Women said it was not satisfied with the hospital’s probe.
Kamaljeet Kaur, president, Panchkula Nurses Association said Kumar came to the Covid-19 isolation ward on Saturday night, at around 12 midnight. She alleged he was drunk. As a staff nurse checked machines he sat there for 10 minutes and then called her to a nursing room asking for her help to see how the machines worked.
“As she went inside the room, he tried to bolt it. When she resisted, he assaulted her, tried to remove her mask and forced himself on her. She pushed him away and ran to the intensive care unit, where she informed others and called the chief medical officer (CMO), principal medical officer (PMO) and nursing in-charge,” Kaur said.
However, when the officials reached the spot they let Dr Kumar leave without testing him for alcohol consumption and did not inform the police, Kaur alleged. “We waited for two days for the authorities to take action. As most of the senior authorities of the hospital are women, we were hopeful that they would take immediate action, but were left disappointed.”
The victim’s aunt too asked for action against Dr Kumar, saying, “On Monday we held a meeting with the CMO, PMO and others. They were very polite, but did not take any action. As we protested the doctor was doing his duty in the OPD.”
Dr Manoj didn’t revert to calls or texts.
No case registered at hospital’s police post
When the victim went to the hospital’s police post to register a case on Monday afternoon, “personnel over there refused to do so and asked us to go to the women’s police station, where an FIR was registered at night,” her aunt said.
She added that the victim had been sent by the hospital on three-day leave and had mentioned in the FIR that she feared a threat to her life.
They then filed a complaint with the women’s commission.
“An FIR was registered against the doctor (at the women’s police station) under section 354 A of the Indian Penal Code on Monday night. Today, the statement of the victim was recorded in front of the magistrate and we are investigating the case,” said assistant commissioner of police, Noopur Bishnoi.
The doctor has not been taken into custody and his statement is yet to be recorded.
Commenting on the matter, Dr Jasjeet Kaur, CMO, Panchkula, said: “A report of the internal committee (ICC) has been submitted to the director general, health services (DGHS) and the doctor has been sent out of the district on deputation. Police are also conducting a parallel inquiry.”
She said the report had also been sent to the women’s commission, which had summoned the health authorities.
When asked why the police was not informed on Saturday, the night of the assault, the CMO said, “Matters of harassment are first enquired into by the ICC.
Second probe marked against nurses who attacked the doctor
The DGHS, Dr SB Kamboj, said in the meanwhile that even as the harassment case was being probed, a “second enquiry would be conducted against those who took law in their hands” and beat up the doctor.
When asked to comment, Preeti Bhardwaj, vice chairman of the women’s commission said the panel was not satisfied with the report submitted by the hospital authorities on the case.
“The incident happened on Saturday night and no action was taken for two days. There was a very casual approach by the CMO and PMO of the health department,” she said.
“They submitted the report today, whose subject was ‘misbehaviour’ with staff nurse. In the report they ‘prima facie found the doctor guilty’ of the allegations. The report as such was a little vague and even I could not decipher it,” Bhardwaj said.
“The situation is worrisome and I am not satisfied with the report. Clarifications will be required,” she added.