Mumbai doctor's suicide: Accused trio made Payal cry all morning on May 22
Eyewitnesses informed me that the accused trio kept taunting and harassing her about going out for dinner the previous night and supposedly trying to evade her duties."
"We have more questions than answers about the circumstances in which my wife allegedly took the extreme step of ending her life," said Dr. Salman Tadvi, husband of Dr. Payal Tadvi who committed suicide on May 22 after being allegedly subjected to caste-based harassment from seniors. Dr. Salman told mid-day that his wife had cried throughout her morning duty on the day of her death, because the absconding trio of seniors kept taunting her about going out for dinner the previous night.
On the night of May 21, Dr. Payal was rather cheerful while speaking on the phone to Dr. Salman. She told him she was going to Mohammed Ali Road with her friends for dinner. That was the last time they spoke; they'd promised to meet the next evening.
Inconsolable after duty
Speaking to mid-day about the treatment meted out to his wife the following morning, Dr. Salman, an assistant professor in the department of anaesthesiology at HBT Medical college and Cooper hospital, said, "That day, she had been assigned as a second assistant for the operation duty. The three absconding seniors were also present with other staff nurses and the unit head. Payal was crying throughout her duty. Eyewitnesses informed me that the accused trio kept taunting and harassing her about going out for dinner the previous night and supposedly trying to evade her duties."
Dr. Payal also spoke with her mother about the same. "At 4 pm, Payal phoned her mother after coming to her room. She was inconsolable; she hadn't even eaten her lunch. She continued sobbing and told her mother that she was taunted in the OT by the three seniors. Her mother asked her to have lunch and advised her not to think too much about what had happened," said Dr Salman, adding, "We have another postgraduate student who was also present outside the OT at the time and even the patient who was taken up for surgery, who witnessed the entire happening." The next evening, around 7.30 pm, Dr. Salman was at his Jacob Circle home when he received a call from hospital authorities informing him that Payal was in a critical condition. Within 10 minutes, he reached the emergency ward and found the doctors giving her CPR. "Even I gave her CPR and tried to revive her, but unfortunately, everything was over."
Dr. Payal had been telling Dr. Salman about the ragging and caste-based harassment she was facing from the accused seniors since the last seven to eight months. He kept encouraging her to be bold and move on from it. She had received temporary respite from the nuisance. "In December 2018, we had complained about the harassment and torture, and as a corrective step, she was shifted to another unit. She was happy and continued working there. But in February, she was brought back to the unit headed by Dr [Yi] Ching Ling. Once again, the trio started troubling her. A week before this incident, I had complained to Dr. Ching Ling about the harassment, but she ignored it," Dr. Salman alleged. Dr. Ching Ling refused to comment on the allegations.
"Had the unit head taken the complaint seriously, Payal would have been alive today. I always wanted to be with her because I was aware of the pressure she was under," he said. Dr. Salman also said that Dr. Payal had complained about being given extra work, to which he would say that her work pressure would reduce once the first-year students came in. The students joined in the first week of May, but, Dr. Salman said, the trio of seniors ensured they put more work on Payal while allowing the new resident doctors to take a break. He also alleged she was deprived of carrying out deliveries and conducting surgeries; even on the day of her death, she was made the second assistant, because of which she hardly had any role to play in the surgical procedure.
Fresh leads raise doubts
Dr. Salman also said on the day of incident, the absconding doctors were seen banging the door of Payal's room and were present when the security guard was called to open the door."Why were they present there? Why did they not wait to meet me and why did they flee from the campus? Payal's room had been left open for an hour. We do not know if any crucial evidence has gone missing from there," he said. He added, "We will be meeting the police on Tuesday and furnishing more details against the three absconding doctors. We will also be visiting the Mantralaya, where we will submit a detailed letter, requesting stringent action."
Payal was indeed crying
The preliminary probe by the hospital has confirmed several points raised by Dr. Salman. A senior doctor said, "Dr. Payal was indeed crying in the OT." Deepak Kundal, ACP (Agripada divison) Deepak Kundal also said Dr. Payal was crying in the OT. When asked about the reason, he said, "It is still being investigated. I believe it could have happened because she might have recalled a past instance of being harassed by the three doctors."
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