August 5: Some thieves are lurking in the corridors of Delhi’s Lady Hardinge Hospital. They steal clothes. But, not any clothes. It has to be a doctor’s clothes.
Or perhaps, the clothes are the only items of value around that place as all other valuables are locked carefully.
For over a year now, doctors who go into the operation theatre after leaving their clothes in the changing room, have not seen them again. Doctors change before getting into the operation theatre to leave behind any germs of infection that their clothes might carry inside.
Some doctors are so tense that their clothes are all they think about. Even during an operation. They have complained to the authorities. But the authorities have not done anything about it, they complain.
Now the doctors have gone on strike. They have threatened to take their clothes off only inside the operation theatre and keep them there until the operation is over. Even if this means bringing in germs and putting the life of the patient at risk.
Do you think they are making too much noise over a few clothes?
The doctors don’t think so. They certainly don’t want to drive home in pyjamas after finding their clothes stolen. In fact, this actually happened to a doctor after he finished surgery one night. “The surgeons living on the campus can still manage. But still, imagine the prospect of being caught without your clothes!” one doctor told ‘The Hindustan Times’ newspaper recently.
The people most affected by the clothes theft are the anaesthetists who have the delicate job of making patients unconscious for the duration of the operation. While the surgeons come to the operation theatre only once or twice a week, the anaesthetists have to come everyday. And face the prospect of losing their clothes everyday.
The hospital campus has seen a rise in thefts lately. Doctors’ houses have been broken into and valuables looted. Some time ago, several doctors found their cars stolen. The car thefts stopped only after a special enclosed parking lot was made for the cars.
But, the clothes thefts continue. One wonders, is it the thieves’ revenge for losing the opportunity to steal cars? No one knows.