Three doctors face action for delay in treating minor rape survivor

The district health department has recommended disciplinary action against three doctors for not providing timely medical aid to a 10-year-old rape survivor.

Chetna Choudhry | TNN
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GURUGRAM: The district health department has recommended disciplinary action against three doctors for not providing timely medical aid to a 10-year-old rape survivor, who was left unattended in her blood-soaked clothes and excruciating pain for 13-14 hours at Gurugram Civil Lines Hospital earlier this month.

An inquiry, which was initiated following interventions from the Child Welfare Committee and the district administration, has revealed that the three doctors, who were on duty on March 12 night when the girl was brought to the hospital and the next morning, overlooked the minor girl’s plight as well as the standard protocol. “The inquiry committee has thus recommended disciplinary action against Dr Stuti, Dr Swati and Dr Nazma for not providing timely and proper medical aid to the rape survivor,” said Dr BK Rajora, chief medical officer, Gurugram.

As TOI reported, the minor girl was raped allegedly by a 38-year-old neighbour, who lured her to his room with candies when she was at home with her four-year-old sister in a slum near Tikri village on March 12 afternoon. The child was taken to the general hospital late in the evening after her mother saw her child limping and crying in pain.

The girl was brought to the general hospital around 10.20pm on March 12 but what followed was a long painful night. The health department’s probe suggests Dr Stuti, a contractual doctor who was on duty then, had informed Dr Swati, the on-call gynaecologist, about a minor girl with injuries in her private parts. Meanwhile, Dr Stuti tried to find out the cause of the injury. But, neither the mother, who was unaware of the sexual assault on her daughter, nor the girl, who is too young to understand what sexual abuse or rape is, could not explain what the problem was. It took Dr Stuti around one-and-a-half hours to counsel the child and find out that she was raped.

At this, Dr Stuti called Dr Swati again and informed her about the assault. However, instead of rushing to the hospital to attend to the child, Dr Swati asked her to call cops, who finally arrived around 2am and took the child to the crime spot for investigation. The girl was brought back to the hospital around 4.30am.

Dr Nazma, a senior doctor, came in around 5am and issued a medico-legal report (MLR) in the case. After all these, the girl was finally given first aid and a bed in the morning, but no one bothered to change her blood-stained clothes or clean her up. Dr Swati reached hospital around 9am but did not check the girl. Shakuntala Dhull, the chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), visited the girl around 11am and noticed her plight. “The girl was still in her blood-stained clothes and was not attended to the entire morning. It was a clear case of negligence towards a rape survivor,” Dhull had said after her visit on March 13.

It was only after Dhull raised the matter with the hospital authorities that the staff gave the girl a change of clothes, a bed sheet and a sponge bath. Finally, around noon, when the doctors checked her, they noticed that the child had suffered deep injuries in her urethra and referred to the Safdarjung hospital.

Health officials said the patient needed immediate medical attention and the gynecologist (Dr Swati) should have come in as soon as she was told about the incident. Also, the patient should have been shifted to the one-stop centre for counselling after the MLR was issued. Even the patient’s file was not ready till the next morning. Her entry was done twice – at 7.23 am and then again at 7.45am. Also, some overwriting and cutting were noticed in the documents, which suggest changes were made after the inquiry was ordered in the case.

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