A 21-year-old tuberculosis patient in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital in the northern Indian city of Gurugram was allegedly raped by a member of the hospital staff while she was in a semi-conscious condition on a ventilator, local police said Wednesday.
“The patient gained consciousness on Tuesday [October 27] and informed her father about the incident through a handwritten note,” Gurugram police said, according to the Hindustan Times on Thursday. “The family then approached police and a case was registered.”
According to the police, the patient’s family suspects that the alleged incident took place between October 21, when she was admitted, and October 27, when she regained consciousness. The patient remains admitted to the Fortis Hospital in Gurugram, where she continues to receive treatment for her condition.
The patient is a resident of nearby Mahendragarh and was admitted to the hospital after suffering from breathing issues. Police said she was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was undergoing treatment for the condition “in isolation in a private room of the ICU when the incident took place,” according to the Hindustan Times.
The assistant commissioner of the Gurugram police, Usha Kundu, told the newspaper that the patient’s father “went to meet her on Tuesday, and she tried to convey [to] him through written messages that she was raped.”
“The hospital conducted an investigation internally and we were informed by the family members (about the alleged crime), following which we have registered a [criminal] case. … We have identified the suspect but are yet to arrest him,” she said.
According to Kundu, the patient “uttered the name Vikas to her father” when attempting to explain that she was allegedly raped. The police used this name to identify the suspect. As part of the ongoing investigation into the incident, Gurugram police recovered CCTV footage from the hospital and questioned the staff assigned to the patient’s ward.
“It was found that the suspect is outsourced and is non-medical staff. We are verifying all the details before arresting the suspect,” Kundu revealed.
Police said the patient is currently unfit to record an official statement on the alleged incident, explaining that she was placed back on a ventilator the day after telling her father that she was allegedly raped.
“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.
“My daughter was raped while being in hospital [sic]. This is a breach of patient security and safety,” the patient’s father told reporters.
Fortis Hospital released a statement addressing the alleged incident.
“(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 [sic],” the hospital said in the statement.
“Post complaint, police have been immediately informed. Hospital is fully cooperating with authorities and furnishing all information/details,” the statement further read.