The delay in installing 82 cameras and filling 23 posts of male attendants at the Regional Mental Hospital in Yerawada has had a tragic repercussion, as two patients lost their lives in a scuffle with another inmate over a blanket. The incident occurred in the wee hours yesterday, and posed several questions to the existing security system in the hospital.
Since the accused is undergoing treatment at the hospital, officials of the Yerawada police station filed an FIR against under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The 28-year-old inmate, who hails from Ahmednagar, is yet to be arrested. The deceased were 38-year-old Satara resident and 52-year-old from Pune.
All three were being treated for schizophrenia. Sources in the hospital said the proposal for installing CCTV cameras that was tabled last was cleared recently. According to hospital authorities, all three were sleeping in the male observation ward no 2 when incident took place. The accused woke up in the middle of the night and found his blanket missing.
Upon searching, he realised that the other two had taken it. This enraged him and he started assaulting the duo. Apart from landing a few punches on their faces, the 28-year-old banged their heads against the wall. Woken up by the noise create by the other patients, the on-duty attendants rushed to the ward. They managed to pull away the attacker but realised that they were late in doing so, as the victims had breathed their last.
When questioned why did it took so long for the attendants to reach the ward, an official said, “When the incident happened, there were three attendants, two doctors, a psychiatrist and one medical officer present in the ward. However, since there wasn’t much commotion, it took a while for them to register that something was amiss. Seventy patients were sleeping in the ward at that time.
After the incident, the accused was immediately shifted to another ward.” Dr Madhumita Bahale, senior psychiatrist and the acting medical superintendent at the hospital, said, “The accused was readmitted here on November 13, for poly-substance abuse with schizophrenia. His brother had first brought him here for treatment in March 2013, which went on till July. When we felt he was ready to go back home, was discharged him. The symptoms of his illness described by his family comprised bad temper, lack of sleep and use of violence against others.”
Better, then worse
Bahale said since his readmission to the hospital in November, the accused had been responding well to medication and counselling sessions. “It is very difficult to predict what a patient might do in a fit of rage. He calmed down after the incident and told us what he did in anger.” An FIR was also filed against attendant Raju Bapurao Dhiwar (49), who was on-duty when the incident occurred.
Senior Inspector Kishore Jadhav of the Yerawada police station said, “We have not done any arrest in this case, as the accused is mentally challenged and patient of the hospital. Statements of the staffers and patients who witnessed the incident are being recorded. We are also probing whether negligence on the part of hospital staff. If found, appropriate action will be initiated against the guilty.”
A 22-year-old woman, who was admitted to hospital from child rehabilitation centre in Osmanabad in January, accused hospital staff of raping her. Four unidentified persons were arrested in this case on October 7 and further investigation is on.
950: No of male patients in the hospital
700: No of female patients in the hospital.
2,400: No of beds in the hospital
1,400: No of beds reserved for male patients
1,000: No of beds reserved for female patients
320: Total no of attendants in the hospital
297: Existing no of male attendants in the hospital