Third theft in two months highlights security issues in Poona hospital

It seems that renowned hospitals in the city are turning out to be a haven for conmen, thieves and thugs. In yet another case, an unidentified person allegedly made away with gold ornaments worth Rs 1 lakh of a patient, identified as Sangeeta Nagarkar, who was admitted to Poona Hospital’s private room on Monday morning. What’s worrying is that the thief was dressed as a doctor and he decamped with the valuables while pretending to carry out a check up. According to police, Monday’s incident is the third in two months in the same hospital, which highlights the lax security. Similar incidents had taken place on April 18 and May 1. 

As unsafe as it can be: A man (below) who was caught on CCTV wandering in corridors and looking into rooms is suspected to have decamped with jewellery worth Rs 1 lakh from the Poona Hospital and Research Centre. Pic/Jignesh Mistry

The theft
A 48-year-old woman who was suffering from dizziness was admitted to the hospital on Sunday evening and shifted to a private room next to the reception counter at the hospital. “On Monday morning, the assigned doctor of the hospital came and checked the lady. Around 9.30 am, when the lady was resting, a man aged between 25 and 30 years came to the room posing as a doctor,” said Police Sub Inspector (PSI) A P Nikumbh. 

“Before entering Nagarkar’s room, he was seen on CCTV wandering in corridors and checking other rooms. “After entering the room, he told the  complainant that he was there to check her blood pressure and asked her to look away form him on pretext of checking her with a stethoscope. He told her that in order to check the blood pressure, she will have to remove her gold bangles,” said Nikumbh.

Nagarkar removed the bangles and kept them near the pillow and faced the other side as instructed. “The suspect then told her that the machine to check the blood pressure was with a nurse and pretended to call her. He then told the complainant that he would bring the machine in a moment and asked her to stay in the same position,” she added. The suspect then picked up the bangles and ran away. After some time, when the doctor did not turn up, the woman turned, found her bangles missing and cried for help.

What security? 
The episode has raised serious questions over the security arrangements and the lax attitude of the administration towards the safety of patients.
“We are now planning to issue a notice to the hospital administration for their lax attitude which will be issues after discussions with senior police officials,” Nikumbh said.

When contacted, CP Thakar, personnel officer of the hospital, said that they have given the CCTV footage to the police and extended their support in the investigation of the case. An administrative official said that several people come to the hospital and some of them are relatives and friends of patients. “It is difficult for the hospital authority to question people as they start arguing with us,” he said. The other major hospitals, where similar incidents have taken place in the past are KEM, Jehangir, Bharti, Aditya Birla and Poona Hospital.  

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