Mumbai doctor's suicide: Dr Payal Tadvi had no friends in her own department, say batchmates

Updated: Jun 07, 2019, 07:30 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty | Mumbai

Statements of fellow students to the anti-ragging committee show how friends from surgery and anaesthesia departments were aware of the constant barbs from the three seniors; case in point: 26 harassing calls Tadvi got over a 20-minute lunch break

Dr Payal Tadvi with her friend Dr Romil Kakad
Dr Payal Tadvi with her friend Dr Romil Kakad

While Dr Payal Tadvi was being harassed by her seniors, she barely had any friends to lean on in the gynaecology department, according to her batch mates. Because of this, she used to mingle more with resident doctors from the departments of anaesthesia and surgery, who were well aware of the treatment being meted out to her.

Speaking to mid-day, Dr Tadvi's friend Dr Romil Kakad said, "She hardly had any friends from her department, so most of her friends were from the departments of anaesthesia and surgery, who were well aware of the harassment she was going through."

Again, the three accused seniors, Dr Hema Ahuja, Dr Bhakti Mehare and Dr Ankita Khandelwal, were seemingly the reason behind Dr Tadvi barely having any support from her peers. "The seniors would often humiliate her in front of her batchmates so she used to hesitate to talk to them," said Dr Kakad. Also, the batch mates worked in different shifts, which left them with limited time to mingle with each other.

Also Read: Mumbai doctor's suicide: Nair Hospital trying to whitewash casteist harassment case

Dr Payal Tadvi would hesitate to speak to her batch mates because she was humiliated in front of them
Dr Payal Tadvi would hesitate to speak to her batchmates because she was humiliated in front of them

However, Dr Tadvi's friends from other departments had even witnessed an instance of the pestering Dr Tadvi was put through. "Once, she went for lunch with a common friend from the surgery department. He told me that during the 20-minute lunchtime, she got 26 calls from the three accused seniors." Repeated calls to Dr Ramesh Bharmal, dean of the college, went unanswered.

Residents express concern

Meanwhile, in the report submitted by the T N medical college's anti-ragging committee on May 25, it was also revealed the fears expressed by the resident doctors who were questioned about the harassment meted out to Dr Tadvi.

The committee had recorded statements of 20 people, including nine resident doctors. Out of these, five were from the gynaecology department — Dr Snehal Shinde, Dr Bhagyashree S. Yevle, Dr Sangram J Gadekar and Dr Pradeep D Lokhande, who were Dr Tadvi's batch mates, and Dr Anurupa Nayak, who is a junior. According to the seven-page initial report of the committee, during questioning, these residents said they might be harassed by the seniors, which could affect their training.

Also Read: Mumbai doctor's suicide: Crime Branch wants custody of three accused doctors in Payal Tadvi case

Committee recommends

Following this, to reassure the students, the committee recommended appropriate administrative action against Dr Yi Ching Ling, the head of the gynaecology and obstetrics unit and Dr Sneha D Shirodkar, the head of the department.

The report reads, "Going by the representation of the PG students to the committee, the future training of the OB-GYN students should not be compromised by their seniors, which is something they are apprehensive about, and in view of the same and to reassure them, it is recommended that the decision for appropriate administrative action be taken against Dr Ching Ling and Dr Shirodkar."

Additionally, the report suggested regular counselling of residents. The report reads, "Communication skills and stress management workshops to be conducted periodically for which outside counsellors should be appointed."

Also Read: Mumbai doctor's suicide: Nair, Topiwala left students vulnerable to harassment, reveals inquiry

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