A 43-year old government doctor on coronavirus duty ended his life in Mysore district in Karnataka with some of his colleagues alleging he was under work pressure.
The taluk medical officer, SR Nagendra, took the extreme step at his residence in the Alanahalli area of Mysore.
The state government said an inquiry has been ordered into the death of the doctor and advised those battling the virus not to succumb to any pressure. According to police, Taluk Health Officer Dr SR Nagendra was found hanging at his quarters in Alanahalli where he had been staying alone.
Nagendra’s family was residing in another area in Mysore district and he chose to stay alone out of fear of contracting the virus and spreading it, they said. Some of his colleagues alleged there was intense work pressure on him as he had been on COVID-19 duty.
Following his death, the district health office saw protests by government doctors demanding action against zilla panchayat CEO Prashant Kumar Mishra who allegedly had put pressure on him to meet targets of conducting coronavirus antigen tests.
Doctors in the health department have also decided to go on a strike until action is initiated on the same, adding that their would attend to emergency cases only. Doctors from Mandya, Kodagu and Chamrajnagar districts will also join the strike.
“About 60 per cent posts are vacant. How do we work like this? We have been working for six months away from home. You have given targets for antigen testing. By putting pressure on such a good doctor, you have killed him,” said Dr Raveendra, former president of a doctors’ association.
Mourning his death, state Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar in a series of tweets also advised the frontline workers not to succumb to any pressure and share their problems with their superiors. The Minister said being a doctor himself, he understood the pressure under which the medical professionals work.
Later, when he visited the spot, Nagendra’s colleagues intensified their stir and sought immediate action against the accused. Sudhakar said a decision on the matter would be taken at a meeting to be held on Friday.
“There will be a transparent investigation into the matter. This is not an intentional incident. In this situation, everybody has workload. We will discuss about reducing work pressure,” said Sudhakar.
The government has announced Rs 30 lakh as compensation for the late doctor’s family and a job for one of them.
A visibly emotional deputy commissioner of Mysore Abiram Shankar said it is a loss for the district and the department. “Dr Nagendra was a good worker. It was very unexpected and shocking,” he said.
Nagendra had been working as the Nanjangud taluk health officer for the last one year. He had been the health officer at Kudlapur village in the taluk for the last six years.
State Health Minister B Sriramulu also extended his condolences and said he is getting every detail of the incident. “I have ordered an inquiry into the case. Anyone found guilty will not be spared. There is no need for people to panic, Sriramulu tweeted.
(With inputs from PTI)
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