Bheri Hospital attack: Probe committee’s report says perpetrators were emotional

A committee formed to investigate the attack on health workers, including doctors and nurses, at the Bheri Hospital in Nepalgunj a week ago has submitted its report on the incident.

Dilli Bahadur Rawat, 51, of Tulsipur Sub-Metropolis-11, Dang died at 8:00 pm on May 27 while undergoing treatment for COVID-related complications.

Following Rawat’s death, his brother Man Bahadur Rawat, who is CPN-UML Lumbini State Committee member, along with Bharat Rawat and Lokraj Rawat had vandalized the hospital and thrashed health workers.

Doctors and staff nurses had to jump off the hospital’s first floor to save their lives after family members of the deceased started attacking on-duty health workers blaming them for Rawat’s death.

All three have been arrested and are in police custody.

The probe committee comprised of members of the Bheri Hospital Development Committee — Krishna Prasad Shrestha and Dhanram Oli — under the coordination of Assistant Chief District Officer of Banke Shankar Bista; President of Nepal Medical Association, Bheri Dr Binod Karna; President of Nepal Nursing Association Banke, Laxmi KC; Deputy Director of Nepalgunj Medical College Dr Roman Kidwai; and DSP Subhash Khadka of District Police Office.

Unveiling the report, Banke CDO Shivaram Gelal, said, “It is natural for relatives of the deceased to be angry and emotional. Failure to control anger can lead to abuse and beatings. The hospital administration needs to be aware of this.”

The report also states that vandalism at the hospital and assault on health workers were wrong.

“It is wrong to carry out vandalism in a sensitive place like hospital, but the hospital administration also needs to improve its security measures,” the report states.

Doctors, staff nurses and health workers of Bheri Hospital have been protesting, demanding action against the attackers. They have been holding an hour-long symbolic protest every evening.

Laxmi KC, a committee member and district chairperson of the Nursing Association, said that the report was in favor of the victims despite some errors. She said that the report had suggested to file a case against those involved in the incident.

Another member Dr Karna said that the report was prepared on the basis of the statements of the victims and perpetrators, and the nature of the incident.

He said that the local administration was recommended to take stern action against those responsible for assaulting doctors and staff nurses and vandalising the hospital’s physical infrastructure.

“The report is not against the sentiments of doctors and staff nurses. We have suggested that the perpetrators be prosecuted. This report has not been prepared on favour of any one,” Krishna Prasad Shrestha, another committee member, said.

Shrestha said that the perpetrator admitted his mistake, criticised himself and given a statement to the investigation committee that he was ready to face action according to the nature of the incident.

CDO Gelal said that legal action has been taken against the three persons who were arrested for being involved in the beating of a health worker.

He said that police had registered a case against Man Bahadur Rawat, Bharat Rawat and Lokraj Rawat on charge of attempt-to-muder.

According to hospital sources, Man Bahadur has been putting pressure on the doctors and staff nurses working in the COVID ward under the patronage of Lumbini Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel.

Man Bahadur also served as the personal secretary to the then mayor of Tulsipur municipality, Ghanshyam Pandey. He had left the government job to get into active politics.

He was also charged with rape earlier, but was cleared by court.

A healthcare staff of the hospital, on condition of anonymity, said that the investigation report had demoralized healthcare workers and favored people in power.

“The arrested person is a UML cadre. Conspiracies are being hatched to save him,” claimed the health worker.