A year on, kin remember Dr Tadvi, say she wouldn’t be scared of virusUpdated: May 23, 2020 23:59 IST
Since the lockdown, BYL Nair Hospital has been converted into a Covid hospital where more than 800 patients are receiving treatment. Recently, the hospital’s gynaecology department celebrated the record of delivering 100 babies by Covid-positive mothers. Had Dr Payal Tadvi not died by suicide a year ago, she would have been there, working alongside her fellow doctors in the gynaecology department, said her mother Abeda Salim Tadvi. “She always wanted to help people. She would have never gotten scared of the virus,” said Abeda.
On May 22, 2019, the body of Dr Tadvi, a second-year resident doctor, was found at the medical college attached to Nair Hospital after she died by suicide. She was 26. Three of her senior colleagues — Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Ankita Khandelwal and Dr Bhakti Mehare — were charged with caste-based harassment and abetting her suicide. They have since been released on bail and the case is pending trial in court. Students at the medical college said relations between seniors and juniors has improved and the college has become more prompt in acting against harassment and other disturbances since Dr Tadvi’s suicide.
For Dr Tadvi’s family, the grief remains overwhelming and they’re still awaiting justice. “I still go through her messages and books. I wish I had a time machine to bring her back. She was the apple of my eye,” said her mother Abeda. While the court case makes its way through the judicial system, Abeda, 51, said that she is yet to receive the compensation of Rs 10 lakh that she claims the then state government had promised her following a close-door meeting. HT has copies of the letters sent by Dr Tadvi’s family, seeking the help they were promised.
“If they don’t want to give money, the government can at least give my son a job. Due to his physical disability, he couldn’t study beyond Class 10. But he can do a clerical job to support himself after our death,” said Abeda, who is a cancer survivor and lives with her husband and disabled son.
Minister for minority development Nawab Malik said the matter would be looked into but it could not take precedence over the Covid-19 outbreak. “If the former government had promised it, they should have released the money. I haven’t received any letter from the family. But they can write to us or the [municipal] corporation. The matter can only be heard after Covid, which is a priority now,” he said.
Dr Salman Tadvi, who is an anaesthetist, remembers how important medicine was for his wife, who was the first person from her Tadvi Bhil village to pursue medical sciences. “To her, her career was everything. Considering, I am an anaesthetist and she was studying gynaecology, we were a perfect couple,” said Dr Salman.
The two were married in 2016 and spent their first year as a couple apart because Dr Tadvi served her one-year compulsory bond in a rural district while Dr Salman completed his postgraduate degree in anaesthesia from King Edward Memorial College in Mumbai. In 2017, the couple shifted to Dr Salman’s hometown Aurangabad for a year before coming to Mumbai in 2018, when Dr Payal was admitted to Nair Hospital for her postgraduate degree and Dr Salman secured a government job in the city.
Now, Dr Salman works at Jogeshwari Trauma Centre where he is currently on Covid duty. He has moved out of the flat that the couple had rented near Nair Hospital and shifted to Jogeshwari. “The room reminded me of her, so I had to leave it,” he said.