Doctor in India suspended for repeatedly slapping HIV-positive patient
A hospital in India has suspended a junior doctor seen in a viral video slapping and berating a patient for failing to disclose that he is HIV-positive.
In a video that already has close to a million views on the social media platform X, formerly Twitter, a doctor is seen slapping a 45-year-old man lying on a gurney at least three times.
The Times of India identified the doctor as Dr Akash Kaushal.
The man was admitted to the government-run Maharaja Yeshwantrao Hospital in Indore city, some 800km south of the capital New Delhi, for a fractured leg and other injuries he sustained during a road accident.
The Times of India reported that Dr Kaushal was incensed because the man did not declare that he was positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can be transmitted via infected blood, among others.
HIV can lead to Aids, which weakens the immune system and makes those infected more susceptible to opportunistic infections.
The doctor also berated the man’s relatives when they tried to intervene, according to the newspaper.
Dr Pramendra Thakur, the hospital superintendent, told reporters that Dr Kaushal, who was with the orthopaedic department, was suspended.
He said a three-member panel was formed “to look into the case”.
“Further action against the accused will be taken in accordance with the investigation report,” he added.
The incident sparked public outrage, and also a discussion on how hospitals should handle HIV-positive patients.
“Absolutely unjustifiable,” app developer Binu Daniel said in a post on X.
“Dealing with HIV requires awareness, not a heavy-handed approach. Patients should be educated, so they feel encouraged to disclose their condition more openly in the future,” he added.
Ms Divya Gandotra Tandon, who heads a non-governmental organisation for women and children, said she believes the doctor’s reaction “is partially justifiable, as he was concerned about the health of other resident doctors”.
Still, “he should have handled the situation calmly and informed the senior staff”, she added.