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Hospital staff accused of sexual assault says act was consensual

Though the operation theatre staff from Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) has admitted to having sexual intercourse with the victim who has accused him of sexual assault, but he told the police that the act was consensual.

However, the victim and suspect were not known to each other.

The medical examination report of the victim has also been labeled ‘inclusive’ by the forensic department of the hospital.

JDWNRH’s Forensic Medical Specialist Dr. Norbu said, “The medical evidence report is inclusive but it does not rule out the sexual assault. We can’t exclude or confirm that the victim was raped. In fact, we cannot say anything.”

Further, he said that they have to conduct a series of tests to determine the act of sexual assault and for that matter they have collected the urine and blood samples along with samples from the crime scene.

A syringe mark on the hand of the victim was visible where the accused had reportedly injected Fentanyl to make her unconscious.

Though the forensic report was inclusive, there is circumstantial evidence like CCTV footage displaying the entry of the victim and accused in the room and the exit of the accused after about half an hour alone.

When the victim regained consciousness, she found herself sitting on a chair along the corridor outside the emergency ward. She had also vomited and was still in a state of drowsiness. She was noticed by a female doctor who took her to the emergency ward for checkup. The victim had complained about feeling discomfort in her private part after which the matter was notified to the authorities.

Dr. Norbu also mentioned that the statement given by the victim matched with the CCTV footage.

Within four to five hours after the incident, the victim was referred to the forensic department for sampling and evidence collection.

With no facilities to perform DNA and toxicology test, the forensic department cannot go beyond this to prove the sexual assault, a source from the hospital said.

The suspect had stolen a Television from the OT earlier but the case was resolved by the administration and not reported to the police.

Officer in-charge of Thimphu Police Major Wangdi said that the police are still in touch with the hospital authorities for investigation.

As seeing the offence as a serious case of Jamphel Rinchen, the Operation Theatre Technician (Anaesthesia Techniciian), who has been accused of sexually assaulting a patient attendant and  there is a public safety risk and breach of Professional Code of conduct, the Bhutan Medical and Health Council, Thimphu has suspended the registration with Bhutan Medical and Health Council (BMHC) with immediate effect.

Nima Sangay the deputy registrar of BMHC said “BMHC mandates in licensing, disciplining and regulating physicians and other healthcare professionals Our end goal: keep patients safe. All health care professionals please do not get disheartened and provide quality care to our population.” If found guilty, the suspect would be charged for raping a married woman under section 179 of the Penal Code of Bhutan (2004) and section 180 spells that the offence shall be graded as fourth degree felony and the defendant shall be also liable to pay Gao in accordance with the other laws.

The accused is from Lhuntse and married with a child.

Chencho Dema from Thimphu