Mumbai doctor's suicide: Dean replaces unit head of gynaecology abruptly

Updated: May 28, 2019, 08:35 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Indecision in the hours following Dr Payal Tadvi's death and ad hoc decisions on Monday put the spotlight on the Nair Hospital's administration

Mumbai doctor's suicide: Dean replaces unit head of gynaecology abruptly
The accused doctors Bhakti, Hema and Ankita

Even as students and academics at Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Hospital are aghast at the way Dean Dr Ramesh Bharmal has been dealing with the suicide of Dr Payal Tadvi, he came up with a shocking decision on Monday. He replaced the head of the gynaecology department unit to which Dr Payal belonged – Dr Yi Ching Ling – with an additional professor without giving a written communication in the matter. Senior academics say he simply asked a junior doctor over the phone to communicate the same.

"It is unfortunate that even after the news of Dr Payal's death spread on May 22, the dean, academic dean, deputy dean, assistant dean and even the head of the gynaecology department did not bother to rush to the emergency ward to check what was happening," said a senior academic requesting anonymity. He added, "It was unfortunate that only after 11.30 pm that night the dean visited the hospital, but instead of meeting Dr Payal's family members, he preferred to be in his cabin until early morning."

Also Read: Mumbai doctor's suicide: The last hours that broke Payal's spirit

Nair Hospital Dean Dr Ramesh Bharmal. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Nair Hospital Dean Dr Ramesh Bharmal. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

He further said that Dr Payal's roommate found something amiss when she was not answering the doorbell on the day of the incident. When she started calling for help, other resident doctors in the hostel including the three absconding accused, rushed to the room. After security personnel broke open the door, Dr Payal was taken to the trauma ward. The three accused resident doctors were at the campus till early morning and had also attended a meeting held by the dean around 2 am.

"It came to light that Dr Payal's parents had tried to meet the dean on May 13 with a letter but they had to return without seeing him. Also, the two-page letter was marked to the health minister and police as well," the academic pointed out.

Also Read: Mumbai doctor's suicide: Accused trio made Payal cry all morning on May 22

Abrupt decision

Nair Hospital's gynaecology department has three units – one run by department head Dr. S S Shirodkar, one headed by Dr. Ching Ling and the third run by Dr. Balaji Jadhav. Dr. Payal and the three absconding resident doctors were reporting to Dr. Ching Ling. The charge of this unit has been now handed over to additional professor Dr. Vandana Sarvade, who was part of Dr. Jadhav's unit.

The academic said, "It is unfortunate that the dean nor the academic dean bothered to inform or consult the gynaecology department head before taking such an abrupt action. Worse, no written communication was given on this and a junior doctor was asked over phone to communicate the decision to Dr. Ling and Dr. Sarvade."

When asked about the fate of Dr Ling, he said, "We will have to wait and watch. The investigation is still underway but the dean has taken an abrupt decision to shunt Dr Ling even before the facts are brought to light." When contacted, Dr Ling confirmed the development, but refused to comment any further.

'No letter came to me'

Speaking to mid-day, dean Dr. Bharmal said, "We have realigned the unit. Instead of Dr. Ling, now Dr. Sarvade, our additional professor, will run the unit." When asked about the letter submitted by Dr. Payal's mother, he said, "I am told the parents have already withdrawn the letter and nothing ever came to me."

"We have appointed a quasi-judicial body to inquire into the matter. It will soon submit a detailed report. Also, the police are investigating the case. We won't be able to comment further on this," he added.

'Wasn't allowed to meet dean'
On several occasions, Abeda Tadvi and Dr. Payal's husband, Dr. Salman Tadvi, an assistant professor in the department of anaesthesiology at HBT Medical college and Cooper hospital, complained to the Nair Hospital authorities about the caste-based harassment and ragging she was facing, but nobody paid heed to it.

When contacted, Abeda said, "In December, when the harassment became extreme, I met department head Dr. Shirodkar. He listened to our grievances but nothing was done about it. Again, I went to meet the dean in May with a letter, but I wasn't allowed to see him. Her husband had also met the head of the department and complained about the harassment she was facing."

Also Read: Denying role, accused trio blame workload for Mumbai doctor's suicide

Inputs by Rupsa Chakraborty

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