NIMS DM Neurology Medico Suicide: Bullying, Harassment, Humiliation Rampant at medical college, finds report
Rampant indications of bullying, harassment, humiliation and discrimination meted out not only to the deceased resident doctor but many other Resident doctors. This has led to a fear-psychosis among the residents
Hyderabad: Months after the suicide of a resident doctor at Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), the enquiry committee which was formed to probe the incident has revealed some horrific facts about the medical institute.
The investigative committee has drafted up a report highlighting the poor working conditions that allegedly led to the suicide a resident doctor, who was pursuing the first year in DM Neurology.
The medico had committed suicide by hanging himself in his hostel room at the institute, in March this year.
His suicide bid apparently triggered a series of protests and NIMS Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) came forward pointing out the appalling conditions that they had to work in. The association had alleged that some professors harassed them, threatened to fail students in exams and made them work for excruciatingly long hours.
Resident Doctors Association alleged that the DM neurology medico committed suicide because of depression. Long working hours (more than 24 hours at a stretch), lack of time for recreational activities, not in a position to avail even 30 holidays given to each student every year etc was taking a toll on their health, resident doctors alleged at that time, reports The Hans India.
Doctors demanded a probe on the suicide. Accordingly, their demand was considered and a five-member committee was formed headed by Dr Raja Reddy, a Hyderabad-based Neurosurgeon, adds TNIE,
The enquiry report was submitted to NIMS Director, Dr K Manohar. It implied that the working conditions at the medical institute are far from ideal.
Following are the pertinent points from the report:
- Rampant indications of bullying, harassment, humiliation and discrimination meted out not only to the deceased resident doctor but many other Resident doctors. This has led to a fear-psychosis among the residents. They are going to remain as untold miseries unless resolved sooner than later.
- Many resident doctors brought to their notice that certain faculty members verbally abuse them in front of patients and attendants.
- It appears that there are lots of bullies in the faculty and they must be counselled and warned in appropriate terms. The death of the resident doctor has brought to light that the insensitive treatment meted out to students by the faculty, though it may not be the sole reason for the suicide of the deceased medico.
- Verbal humiliation of residents in front of patients and patient attendants for small lapses and failures is an unwelcome characteristic noted on part of certain faculty members, which was articulated by many residents.
- It can only be stated that the reasons are more of psychiatry in nature on part of deceased and diseased (whomsoever and whatsoever they are afflicted with) and it will not be out of place to mention that the ambience of repeated episodes of harassment and humiliation might have clouded the thought process on a fateful day.
- NIMS' bed strength had tripled from 500 to 1500 since 1996, but there were no new recruitments, increasing patient load and work pressure on employees.
- Lack of biometric attendance facility to track working hours of resident doctors.
- Doctors not given incentives for extra work.
- Committee noted several incidents of doctors carrying patients on stretchers and pushing wheelchairs were reported, leading to low self-esteem among resident doctors.
Though the incident was tragic and regretted widely, the committee was of the opinion that in the absence of direct or indirect evidence related to the incident, "It would not only blunderous to make a judgmental statement but also be slanderous and defamatory on their part. It can only be stated that reasons are more of psychiatric in nature on part of deceased", quotes Telangana Today.
Apart from the issues that are persisting at the institute at present that need to be erased off the institute; the committee also put forward the resolutions for the said concerns.
Recommendations submitted by the committee:
- Resident doctors should be treated with utmost respect by the faculty.
- Resident doctors must be insulated from any kind of verbal abuse or humiliation, and work hours should be according to Supreme Court directives.
- As per the SC guidelines, continuous duty for resident doctors should not normally exceed 12 hours per day, and the maximum duty should be 48 hours per week. However, residents work for 48 hours without a break.
- It has been recommended that the post of Head of Department (HoD) should be given on a rotation basis for three years, to discourage professional authority.
- Biometric attendance must be made mandatory.
- Their personal files must be updated regularly.
- Appoint a registered experienced psychologist
- Theory papers should be evaluated by external centres
- The ethics committee should be established to look into allegations of ethical violations, and be headed by an ex-officer of proven integrity who is not part of the system, reports TOI.
Abuses like 'you are nothing more than this garbage', 'you are useless', 'you are a donkey, not able to get on with any work', are commonly used, the resident doctors shared while speaking to TOI. Senior faculty members also claimed that they had faced similar instances when they were resident doctors.
Medicos alleged that reason why residents have been suffering 'untold miseries' as pointed out in the report, is that the senior faculty has absolute control over their examinations.
"This norm has remained unaddressed for the longest time. Whenever we questioned the faculty, they said that it was nothing and they had heard even worse," Dr Goutham, President of NIIMS RDA told the media.