Teen disappears from a of Sassoon Hospital

Conductor finds woman in Shivajinagar-bound bus, brings her back; teen went missing when authorities sent patients outside ward to fumigate it

A nineteen-year-old woman, Poonam Kalwaghe, who was admitted to the Psychiatry Ward of Sassoon General Hospital, disappeared yesterday morning when the authorities were busy fumigating the ward. Kalwaghe's parents were informed that she was not on the hospital premises and a search was launched.

Vanishing act: Poonam Kalwaghe, who went  missing from Sassoon

The parents blamed the hospital authorities for negligence. Earlier, four undertrials had also escaped from the hospital. The incident took place when all the patients from the Psychiatric Ward Number 25 were brought out of the ward at 9 am to fumigate the place.  When MiD DAY visited the spot, there was no security staff or ward boys with the 35 patients waiting outside.

Kalwaghe's mother said, "How can I presume that my girl is safe and secure in Sassoon? Poonam recently completed her Std IX examination and was admitted here a fortnight ago. The police refused to take our complaint and asked us to wait till evening."

Around 7 pm, Kalwaghe's parents received a call from a bus conductor who said that their daughter was in a bus heading to Shivajinagar, and was in an incoherent state. Noticing that something was amiss, the conductor approached the girl and got her parents' contact details.

Poonam's father said, "The conductor called me and said my daughter was in the bus and he is bringing her to Sassoon." The conductor escorted her to the hospital. The hospital requested Poonam's parents to keep her in Sassoon and promised proper care.

Patient left unattended
Rajendra Jagtap (30) from Bhawani Peth, a patient with violent tendencies undergoing treatment in Ward No 25 in Sassoon, had one hand tied to the chair and was kept outside the ward. Jagtap was asleep but his sister Heerabai, who was sitting next to him, said, "I am worried that my brother has been kept outside the ward, they should keep someone to attend to him."

The other side
Dr Ajay Chandanwale, Dean, Sassoon Hospital said, "We needed to carry out the fumigation process but I agree that security should have been beefed up or some alternate arrangement should have been made for the patients who had to vacate the ward." Before Poonam was traced, Dr D G Kulkarni, Superintendent, Sassoon Hospital, said, "We are also looking for the girl and if required a missing complaint shall be filed with the police. I take complete responsibility for this."

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