In September, another young COVID-19 female patient was sexually assaulted by an ambulance driver in Pathanamthitta.

Animated picture of a man and a woman in a dark background to represent sexual assaultImage for representation
news Assault Monday, November 16, 2020 - 15:15

An employee of the Malabar Medical College in Kozhikode has allegedly tried to sexually assault a COVID-19 female patient. The woman has registered a complaint with the Atholi police station. "A complaint was made over the telephone and the Station House Officer is at the hospital to collect statements from the patient. Further details will only be available later,” said a police official at the Atholi station.  

Following the police complaint, the employee – Aswin Krishnan – was suspended by the hospital, reports Manorama. Members of various political parties, including the CPI(M), the BJP and Youth Congress, marched to the hospital in protest.

Watch: COVID-19 woman patient complains of sexual assault at hospital

It was last Thursday that the woman had reached the hospital for treatment. Aswin reportedly took her mobile number and began sending messages. The woman complained to the doctors but no action was reportedly taken. On Sunday night, Aswin took the woman to the elevator on the pretext of taking her to a doctor. She had insisted on using the stairs but he wouldn’t listen. The woman can be heard saying on phone that the lift was dark inside and he was standing very close to her, saying that he wanted to talk to her. She said she had nothing to talk to her and asked him to move away. It was after this that she made a phone complaint to the police.

This is not the first incident of a health worker sexually assaulting a woman COVID-19 patient in the state.

Earlier there was a lot of criticism of the government handling of COVID-19 patients when a young woman in Pathanamthitta was rapes by an ambulance driver while she was taken to a hospital for COVID-19 treatment. It was in September that the 19-year-old COVID-19 patient was assaulted by 28-year-old Noufal who was a driver of the Kerala government's 108 Kanivu ambulance service. He was removed from service and arrested.

Read: COVID-19 patient sexually assaulted in Kerala by ambulance driver on way to hospital

The government was criticised for letting a female patient travel alone with the ambulance driver late in the night. There were also questions on how Noufal, who was earlier accused in an attempt to murder case, got appointed as the ambulance driver. Health Minister KK Shailaja had then said that the government will ensure all measures to prevent such crimes in the future. The recruitments happened through an agency and

The survivor however attempted to take her life later, while she was still admitted at the isolation ward of the government hospital in Pathanamthitta. Doctors said that the trauma of the incident and COVID-19 would have driven her to it.

The Malabar Medical College incident also throws light on the lack of healthcare workers in COVID-19 duty. In late September, a COVID-19 patient who was discharged from the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College was found to have bedsores infested with maggots. When a senior doctor was suspended in connection with the incident, doctors who took out a protest against the move, alleged that lack of health workers had led to it and the government should address it. 

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