Hyderabad doc tries to self-immolate over virus row

Hyderabad doctor tries to self-immolate after he was accused of spreading fake coronavirus news

Representative image (iStock photo)

A doctor’s self-immolation bid in public at the state-run Gandhi hospital was foiled by the Hyderabad police on Tuesday.

Vasanth Kumar, a casualty medical officer at the hospital, was reportedly detached from the hospital services for allegedly "leaking false news" that there were positive cases of Coronavirus at the hospital.

Gandhi hospital, in the heart of the city, is the nodal centre for Corona suspect cases, tests and has an isolation ward set up. Telangana health authorities have been categorically stating that there is no positive case of Coronavirus in the state till now.

For over an hour around Tuesday noon, the hospital premises witnessed a tense situation with Vasanth threatening to set himself on fire.

The doctor addressed media persons, with petrol bottles strapped around his waist inside shirt, all the while holding a cigarette lighter in one hand. Police personnel were standing two meters away, pleading him to desist. His wife, also a doctor working at the same hospital, was present there. 

In the TV news channels’ telecast, Vasanth could be heard making allegations of corruption in the hospital like absenteeism, favoritism and other fraudulent practices.

“When I did nothing wrong, why did they create such a charge? How can they punish me like this? They have been killing us. Never was treated like a doctor,” Vasanth said, while refusing to talk to higher authorities in the police, health departments.

Making use of a moment when the doctor was looking the other side, one police officer rushed towards him and others joined to overpower him and took away Vasanth in a police van.

Senior health department officials denied reports of Vasanth being punished for Corona case leaks. Ramesh Reddy, director of medical education said that action against the said doctor were based on complaints on his misconduct with seniors, from the hospital superintendent.

“Earlier too we had warned Dr Vasanth when we received complaints like extorting money. If he is aware of irregularities, why did he not bring to our notice earlier? There is no positive case of Coronavirus at Gandhi hospital. He is anyway not a specialist to talk on isolation ward,” said Reddy.

Some media reports claimed Dr Vasanth as becoming target of group politics among the hospitals’ doctor community.  

The police officials were appreciated with a cash reward from the Hyderabad city police commissioner Anjani Kumar.

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