Medical students on Covid-19 duty get robbed at hostels in Mumbai’s KEM Hospital; lose thesis papers

While resident doctors remain busy providing treatment to Covid-19 patients at the premier civic-run King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital at Parel, their electronic equipment is getting stolen at their hostels. Medicos alleged that despite complaints, the hospital authority has not taken adequate steps to provide security.

In November alone, three incidents of theft have been reported at the hostels of resident doctors. The first incident was on November 2 when a mobile got stolen from room number 26 at Annexe hostel, followed by two more incidents on November 11 and 12 at room numbers 30 and 321 of Annexe hostel and resident medical officer (RMO) hostel, respectively.

In all three cases, first information reports (FIRs) were registered at Bhoiwada police station. Vinod Kamble, senior police inspector of Bhoiwada police station didn’t respond.

All three cases of theft took place in the absence of the resident doctors who were on Covid-19 duty at the hospital. “After a tireless day at work at Covid-19 wards, we found our electronic items missing when we returned to our hostels. This is extremely frustrating,” said a medical student whose laptop is stolen.

“Among the stolen goods two were Macbooks which cost over ₹1 lakh, one iPad and one Dell laptop. These are expensive electronics. We can’t afford to buy those again,” said a resident doctor.

Due to the theft, students who had stored their thesis paper on their laptops have lost them which can get them disqualified for the final examination. “It took me two years to collect data to complete my thesis. If I don’t get my laptop back, I may not even qualify to sit for the final examination,” said another resident doctor. “Other than that, we also have important academic related documents,” the student added.

Students alleged that despite repeated complaints to the hospital authority, they aren’t paying any heed. “The hospital hasn’t installed CCTV cameras on all floors. Security is extremely weak, so anyone from outside can walk into the hostels without being checked,” said another resident doctor.

Dr Arun Ghule, president of Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) at KEM Hospital, confirmed the incidents and said they are going to submit a letter to the dean on Tuesday. “This has started happening recently and we have also informed the hospital authority about it. If the doctors don’t get their laptops, then they have to redo their thesis again. We are going to demand for better and stringent security at the hostels,” he said.

Dr Hemant Deshmukh, dean of the hospital said, “Police complaints have been filed. We are looking into the matter.”

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