In a week, two Thane mental hospital patients kill self

Updated: Sep 25, 2019, 07:32 IST | Arita Sarkar, Anamika Gharat | Thane

Thane hospital administration suspends four attendants and relieves two staff nurses from their duties pending an inquiry

Federation of nurses stages a protest on Tuesday
Federation of nurses stages a protest on Tuesday

Earlier this month, just within a week two patients of Thane Mental Hospital committed suicide by hanging themselves. This has prompted the hospital administration to suspend four attendants and relieve two staff nurses from their duties pending an inquiry. The first incident occurred around 6:30 pm on September 11 when 33-year-old Sandeep Patil hanged himself from the window grille on the first floor with the help of some gauze rolls.

"The patient had killed his father 12 years ago and was initially kept at Nashik prison where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He was brought to this hospital in 2010 and his condition improved after a couple of years. However, he became very upset over the fact that his family was not willing to take him back." said Dr Sanjay Bodade, medical superintendent of Thane Mental Hospital. Bodade added that on account of his mental illness, Patil was later acquitted but still his mother refused to accept him.

The second incident occurred around 11:30 am on September 17 when 30-year-old Deepak Chaurasia, who was being treated for poly drug abuse, hanged himself from the ceiling fan. "Chaurasia was admitted to the hospital around a month ago. In such cases, during withdrawal, patients either go into depression or become violent. He committed suicide using his bed-sheet," said Dr Bodade. Of the four attendants who have been suspended, Vinod Marotia and Suresh Kurkute were on duty on September 11 and Dilip Lembe and Tara Singh Chauhan were there on September 17. Apart from this, Kamal Bhosale, who was the in-charge nurse during the first incident, and Varsha Hiwade, who was on duty during the second incident, have been relieved from their duties pending an inquiry by higher authorities.

However, union members are of the opinion that such punishment was unfair since there is severe staff shortage in the hospital. Shraddha Tendulkar, member of the nurse federation said, "As per the rule, there should be one nurse for three patients, but here one nurse looks after more than 100 patients. They do not have enough wardens. The superintendent doesn't have the authority to remove us from our job." Bodade said, "It is true that we are short-staffed, but we cannot supervise the patients throughout the day." Speaking about the disciplinary action taken against the staff, he said that the mental hospital functions like a prison and it was the staffers' responsibility to ensure that patients don't have access to items that can be dangerous for them. Confirming the incidents, Wagle estate police station SPI A Pathan said, "Two suicide cases have been reported at the mental hospital. An accidental death report has been filed for both."

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