Stories from doctors

Professor advices medical student to have children and sleep with patients

Story submitted by a young female doctor who wishes to remain anonymous, written by Dr. Rohini

In 2nd year, during clinical postings nobody used to take classes for us. Hence, the students would usually sit in the ward on the empty beds at the end of the ward, and we would study ourselves.

One fine day, the head of the department came to the ward. My friends saw him and stood up. Unfortunately, I didn’t see him as I was sitting facing the opposite side, because of which I didn’t stand up. He saw me sitting on the bed and for some reason felt What happened was done on purpose. 

He called me out for and started shouting at me in the ward, in front of patients, hospital staff and my batchmates. The abuses went on for about 40 minutes. Some of those abuses were “sahi time pe shadi ki hoti toh 2 bacche hote” (if you got married at the right time you would have had 2 kids at least) – I was 19 years old at the time. He Even went on to telling me “why are you sitting on the empty bed, go sleep with that patient” and pointed towards an old male patient – with all the patients being able to hear, including the old man I was told to sleep with. 

I became numb at that point. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t speak For almost 2 days after that and I was just not able to process what happened 😔

Nobody said anything or tried to stop him.

Note from Dr. Rohini

This is harassment, and hearing anything like that from someone who is older, apparently educated, and in a noble profession is simply revolting. Senior doctors have been able to get away with such behavior because they recognize that they have too much power, influence and that no one will challenge them. I’m delighted this doctor contacted me to share her story, but I believe that in order to truly make a difference, more doctors need to come forward and name such doctors at fault. Even if doctors come forward with their horror stories, senior doctors will presume their names will never be revealed, and as a result, they will not change and the situation will not change. Doctors are also not supported by their employers or universities. Women, in particular, are subjected to harassment throughout their lives in medicine. Lack of HR and corporate culture in medicine has only made medicine one of the most unsafe professions for women, with the rate of sexual harassment being two to four times higher than in other professions worldwide – medicine is also the only profession that let’s you get away with Sexual harassment. Chronic harassment can have a negative impact on one’s mental health and performance.

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