'Sexual assault: IO should have come under scanner'

District hospitals should address staff crunch, says SHRC member

Member of State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) C J Hungund on Saturday asserted that police or investigating officers (IOs) too have a key role to play in the investigation of sexual assault cases.

Reacting to media queries, following the suspension of Dr Neetha of Cheluvamba Hospital who had to face action due to the allegations of prolonging the tests on a rape victim from Thayur village, Nanjangud taluk in the district recently, Hungund said that apart from doctors, the role of police personnel, was also pivotal. 

He went on to say that the IO should have in turn been held accountable, and not the doctor. Hospital staff continued to wear black ribbon, to mark their protest against the suspension of Dr Neetha.

Hungund said that he had sought information from the hospital authorities about the turn of events on the day, after it was referred to the Commission. The speech and hearing impaired victim from Thayur who was initially treated at T Narsipur government hospital was later referred to Cheluvamba.

Hungund also stressed on dedicated facilities to examine sexual assault victims, in compliance with the law.
 Staff crunch

He said that he had so far toured 17 districts and visited the district hospitals. “There is an acute shortage of both medical and para-medical staff in all these hospitals. As a result, hospitals have failed to deliver effectively. The staff shortage puts a lot of pressure on the existing staff, following which the productivity takes a beating.

For instance, the Cheluvamba hospital is equipped to handle child deliveries every day. But there are more than 40 childbirths reported in the hospital per day. This is taking a toll on the staff,” he added.

Hungund said that the Superintendent of the Hospital had sent a proposal to the government for setting up two additional labour wards. 

The SHRC member who went around the hospital, interacted with patients in all the wards.

In the process, he noticed a woman sitting in the corridors of the Hospital with a baby in her arms. 

Hungund ascertained that the woman, was the grandmother of the infant, while her daughter Jyothi from Virajpet (infant’s mother) was being treated for anaemia. 

Hungund took the hospital staff to task for not ensuring proper care for the infant. He said that safety and security of infants in hospitals was of utmost importance in the wake of rising cases of baby swapping.

Medical Superintendent Dr Radhamani, Resident Medical Officer Dr Manjunath accompanied Hungund during the visit.

Later, Hungund also paid a visit to the pre-metric hostel in Nazarbad and Srikanteshwara child labourers rehabilitation center, in Kytamaranahalli.

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