Delhi doctor dies by suicide; was 'frustrated' due to COVID-19
A 35-year-old resident doctor at a private hospital in Delhi allegedly died by suicide on Friday. Dr. Vivek Rai was found hanging at his residence in South Delhi's Malviya Nagar. He had been treating COVID-19 patients in the ICU at Max Hospital Saket. The former Indian Medical Association (IMA) chief said Dr. Rai was frustrated with watching people dying on his watch.
The police received a call around 11 pm on Friday from a woman who said her friend's husband was not answering the door, The Print reported. When the police reached the spot, they broke open the door and found him hanging from a ceiling fan. The police do not suspect any foul play. A purported suicide note signed by Dr. Rai was also recovered.
A senior police officer said told The Print, "The note is addressed to his family members and friends. Rai wrote that he was ending his life and wished happiness for everyone," adding that he didn't mention a specific reason or make any allegations.
An officer told The Print, "Dr. Rai's wife has not mentioned anything about him being stressed, upset, or disturbed." "In fact, she says he had been quite occupied at the hospital with an increase in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, and Max being turned into a COVID-only hospital. Also, she did not mention Rai having any medical history for depression," they said.
The hospital said that they were "deeply pained by his untimely death" and extended condolences to the family. "Dr. Vivek Rai, a first-year DNB student of Family Medicine at Max Hospital, Saket died today, we believe, by suicide at his residence. Dr. Rai had completed his work shift at 2 pm yesterday, as usual. The hospital learned of his passing from his neighbors."
Former IMA chief Dr. Ravi Wankhedkar said on Twitter that Dr. Rai was a "brilliant doctor" and "helped save hundreds of lives during the pandemic." During the last month, he had been looking after COVID-19 patients at the ICU at Max hospital. He was looking after seven-eight critical patients every day and not many of them were surviving, he said.
"Due to this frustrating situation he was into, he took such a difficult decision of ending his own life than living with the suffering and emotions of the people who died on his watch," Dr. Wankhedkar said in the tweet posted on Saturday. Calling his death a "murder by the 'system,'" Dr. Wankhedkar added, "Bad science, bad politics, and bad governance."