Hospitals and health centres are places where people come to seek critical health services and feel safe, not to get sexually assaulted. Reportedly, an incident occurred on April 5 where an operating theatre (OT) technician allegedly sexually assaulted a 30-year-old woman attendant after injecting an anaesthetic drug. The technician called the attendant to the OT for a blood test because the patient required a blood transfusion. Instead of drawing blood from the woman for the test, the technician reportedly gave her an anaesthetic drug.

The news is unsettling. What is even more disturbing is that this is not the first time such an incident has occurred at the country’s top hospital – Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital. There are records of appalling incidents that have occurred in the hospital. In 2016, a man believed to be an alcoholic with criminal records walked into the ward and began assaulting a patient with a stone slab when the attendant had gone to look for a hospital staff for painkillers. The man then knocked down the patient’s wife and her sister, injuring them both and creating mayhem in the room until finally a patient who had undergone a major surgery on the lower part of his body had to get out of the bed and push the man out of the room.

In February 2017, a 22-year-old man walked onto the hospital premises and killed a security guard. Six months later, on August 22, a 60-year-old man from Gorgan in Lhuentse attempted to rape a 23-year-old woman at the hospital’s psychiatric ward. The man was sharing a room with the woman at the ward. When the woman alerted the hospital staff with a cry, two ward officials came and took the woman and her patient to a different room.

These are not scenes from a psychologically warped horror flick. There are chances that many such incidents go unreported. What is disconcerting is when hospital staff is involved in such crimes. Repeated incidents like these have left the public shaken. It is up to the hospital now to built the trust. And that must begin with calling for high moral and professional standards in the hospitals.

Blaming the incompetency and lack of professionalism of the private security service providers and leaving at that is being utterly irresponsible.