mid-day editorial: Hospitals should be safe havens

Kamgar Hospital is under the scanner for a case of sexual assault on a patient. This is the second such case in the government-run hospital in Ulhasnagar, a report in this newspaper stated. The first was in 2013, where a ward boy was held for molesting a 34-year-old woman. Now, a sweeper has been accused of raping a 45-year-old woman. The sweeper though has fled, citing sick leave.

It is shocking that two such incidents have taken place in the hospital. While the second incident has taken place in residential quarters, it was within the complex. We have several examples of similar cases in medical clinics and hospitals in the city. If one cannot even trust those working in a medical facility, then it speaks very poorly of us as a society and community.

Those accused need to face the strictest action, and it should be swift. Women cannot be afraid or hesitant inside the environs of a hospital or a medical complex. Why should there be any threat in a medical facility? This is a place to heal, not to come to any harm.

When we go to a hospital, we trust the staff there with our very lives. These incidents chip away at the very core of the relationship between medical professionals and patients, which has to be based on a solid bedrock of trust. Be it sweepers, ward boys, nurses or doctors, these incidents sully the pristine white uniform of the medical profession.

All hospitals need to ensure top-class security for women — for all patients, rather — and workers within the complex. Once a complaint is established as credible, they need to be ruthless and the guilty need to be brought to book.
Sometimes, we have seen facilities trying to brush such crimes under the carpet; sometimes they do not cooperate with investigations, as they are afraid it can tarnish the hospital’s name. That should not happen. The medical fraternity would do well to remember their oath to serve and heal their patients.

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