?Stressed? CIP in suicide soup

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By S. SHEKHAR in Ranchi
  • Published 1.08.05

Ranchi, Aug. 1: Another case of suicide at the Central Institute of Psychiatry (CIP) yesterday has raised doubts over the state of affairs in the mental hospital.

Sunil Mandal, a 35-year-old patient from Purulia in West Bengal, hanged himself to death at the mental hospital.

This is the third case of suicide in CIP this year. The last such incident was reported in May.

Mandal used his bedsheet to commit suicide. Sources said there was no ward boy or doctor in the ward when the incident took place.

CIP director S. Haque Nizami said the patient was psychotic and was difficult to control. But a section of the hospital staff said the repeated cases of suicide are a fallout of lack of manpower in the hospital, particularly of the grade four staff who look after the wards.

Kanke police station officer-in-charge Ravikant Prasad said prima-facie it appears that the CIP management has been unable to cope with repeated cases of suicide in the absence of required manpower.

Prasad added that he himself went to the hospital for investigations and found Mandal hanging himself from a window. ?The only way out to prevent such occurrence in the future is immediate staff recruitment,? Prasad said.

Questions are also now being raised on whether the hospital should adopt restrictive measures for patients with suicidal tendencies.

Nizami said the patient had a psychotic history and had been difficult to control since he was admitted in the hospital in June this year. ?As per norms of psychiatry, we do not chain such patients or lock them up in solitarily confinement. Moreover, we cannot deny a patient of a basic requirement such as a bedsheet,? Nizami said.

Nizami refuted manpower shortage as a possible cause of suicide cases in the hospital and said the hospital has a total of 300 grade four staff against a sanctioned strength of 350, which is not very less.

However, sources in the CIP said the patient-ward-boy ratio in the hospital stands at 40:1, which is way above the recommended strength of 5:1.

?The suicide could have been prevented. Mandal tore his bedsheet and made ropes out of it. It took him 20-25 minutes to succumb to death after hanging himself. Though two ward-boys have been deputed in the ward where the incident occurred, there was just one ward-boy in the entire ward of 45 patients yesterday. The other was on leave. Unfortunately, the sole ward-boy was not there in time of the suicide,? said a hospital staff.

Rajendra Rai, a resident of Chapra, had hanged himself similarly in May this year, the source added.