Nanavati Hospital resident doctor alleges sexual harassment, approaches police
A resident doctor at Nanavati Max Super Specialty Hospital in Mumbai has approached the police, alleging sexual harassment by a colleague. The doctor claims that the hospital's HR head threatened her with consequences if she did not withdraw the complaint. The hospital has stated that it has zero tolerance for harassment and will cooperate with the investigation.
MUMBAI: A resident doctor attached to Nanavati Max Super Specialty Hospital, Vile Parle, on Wednesday approached the Santacruz police, alleging sexual harassment by a colleague. While no FIR has been registered yet, the police said they are already talking to all the people concerned.
The 27-year-old complainant submitted a written application about the harassment, saying she had also written a mail to the hospital authorities, formally apprising them about the situation. She claimed she had earlier also made several oral complaints to the seniors in her department. She also wrote in her application that the hospital’s HR head threatened her with dire consequences if she did not take the complaint back, which forced her to approach the police.
The resident doctor, who is attached to the hospital’s obstetrics and gynaecology department, said the alleged sexual harassment by the clinical consultant began within a month of her joining the institute. “It began with him inappropriately touching my upper body parts, pulling me towards himself to try and hug me,” she said. “I tried to stop him many times but his advances did not stop.”
When the resident complained to her senior consultant, the latter, instead of acting against the clinical consultant or reprimanding him for his actions, asked her to ignore him and not complain further. “My senior consultant said I should not report it to the higher-ups as it would spoil my career,” she said. “She said he was married and my complaint would affect his career and personal life. I was forced to keep quiet.”
The doctor said the alleged sexual harassment started affecting her mental peace and performance at work. “Our work hours sometimes extend to 48 to 72 hours,” she said. “We get patients late at night too. Due to his harassment, I stopped going to the sleeping area to rest despite long work schedules.”
In her statement to the police, the doctor also mentioned another female clinical consultant who allegedly ragged her after she confided in her about the sexual harassment. “Apart from the senior in the department, I had spoken to her,” she said. “However, this woman started ragging me after that, bringing up my lower-caste status repeatedly during conversations and making me do her personal work. They ganged up on me to pressurise me into silence.”
The doctor said the alleged constant sexual harassment and ragging led her to be diagnosed with depression. “I took two months’ leave because I was depressed and suicidal but I was forced to resume a few days ago,” she said. “I have been taking treatment in a corporate hospital in Hyderabad. My rheumatoid arthritis, too, got triggered because of the severe stress.”
The resident alleged that the senior consultant threatened her with dire consequences and asked her to resume work while she was undergoing treatment. “The HR head is now threatening to destroy my career,” she said. “He warned me to withdraw all my complaints or face the consequences.”
A senior officer from Santacruz police station said they had received the complaint. “Our team is in touch with the hospital’s Prevention of Sexual Harassment (POSH) committee to get their version of events and will record their statements,” he said. “The complainant did not want an FIR yet. She wants to wait for the POSH committee to submit its report before making an official complaint.”
A Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital spokesperson said, “We received a complaint of misbehaviour and harassment from one of our resident doctors against another colleague late last week. Taking note of the severity of the allegations, we immediately convened a meeting of the Internal Committee under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act), as well as an Anti-Ragging Committee. However, the aforesaid resident doctor did not participate in the proceedings. We have absolutely zero tolerance to any form of harassment or assault, and the safety of our employees and patients is of paramount importance. We will fully cooperate with the investigating authorities as and when an investigation gets underway.”