A female patient was allegedly raped by a hospital worker while undergoing treatment for tuberculosis (TB) in India, police said on Wednesday.
The 21-year-old woman had been admitted to Fortis Hospital in India’s northern city of Gurugram, and was allegedly assaulted while in a semi-conscious condition on a ventilator.
On Tuesday, the patient is said to have gained consciousness and told her father what had happened through a handwritten note, police added.
Police said that they have identified the suspect but have so far been unable to arrest him, according to the Hindustan Times.
The victim is still undergoing treatment at hospital, where police said the family suspected the incident to have taken place between when she was admitted on October 21 and when she gained consciousness October 27.
The woman’s father questioned how a male staff member was left alone attending to his daughter. ‘My daughter was raped while being in hospital [sic]. This is a breach of patient security and safety,’ the father told reporters.
Pictured: Fortis Hospital in India’s northern city of Gurugram where a 21-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a health worker while she was semi-conscious on a ventilator, being treated for tuberculosis. Police have said they have identified the suspect
According to the police, the woman – from Mahendragarh – was taken to hospital after she complained of breathing issues and was undergoing treatment for TB in isolation in a private room on the ICU, when the alleged assault took place.
Assistant commissioner of police Usha Kindu said that the father went to visit her on Tuesday, which is when she conveyed to him what had happened through handwritten messages.
Kundu said that the victim ‘uttered the name Vikas to her father’ when trying to explain that she had been allegedly rape, allowing the police to identify the suspect.
‘The hospital conducted an investigation internally and we were informed by the family members (about the alleged crime), following which we have registered a case under section 376 (2) (E) of Indian Penal Code at Sushant Lok police station. We have identified the suspect but are yet to arrest him,’ she said.
The police have also received CCTV footage and have questioned staff working on the ward in their investigation.
‘It was found that the suspect is outsourced and is non-medical staff. We are verifying all the details before arresting the suspect,’ she said.
Police added that the victim is currently unfit to record a victim statement because she was put on a ventilator the day after telling her father about the alleged rape.
According to police, the woman told her dad of the alleged rape by writing a handwritten note because she was unable to speak properly while being treated. Pictured: Demonstrators protest after the alleged gang-rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman earlier this month
‘A board of doctors from the civil hospital … conducted a medical investigation on Wednesday and police protection has been provided to the patient in the hospital,’ Gurugram police commissioner K.K. Rao said.
Fortis Hospital said in a statement: ‘(The) Patient came to the hospital on 21st October 2020 with severe respiratory symptoms and pulmonary tuberculosis.
‘She was admitted in ICU, and from the second day of her admission, she is on ventilator support. Six days after admission, the patient has alleged that she has been violated within the hospital premises on the day of admission.
‘Post complaint, police have been immediately informed. Hospital is fully cooperating with authorities and furnishing all information/details.’
India is one of the world’s most dangerous places for women, with a rape occurring on average every 15 minutes based on federal data. Pictured: Students and Activists hold placards in front of National parliament in Dhaka , Bangladesh on October 10 as they demand justice for a woman who was allegedly gang-raped and murdered
India is one of the world’s most dangerous places for women, with a rape occurring on average every 15 minutes based on federal data.
Last month, widespread demonstrations were seen over the death of a 19-year-old woman following an alleged gang-rape in September.
In December 2012, the gang-rape of a 23-year-old woman sparked nationwide outrage and led to a tough new anti-rape law.
An average of nearly 90 rapes were reported in India every day last year, according to data by the National Crime Records Bureau, but large numbers are thought to go unreported.