A second suicide has rocked the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc), based at Bangalore. This time it has been a PhD student ; R Chaitra (32), native to Cuddalore , Tamil Nadu . She poisoned herself to death on Monday night.
Chaitra was doing her PhD in nano-materials at the Non-Equilibrium and Nano-Materials Laboratory , belonging to the material engineering department. She had joined the IISc in 2003 for her master's degree.
Staying in the institute's women's hostel, Chaitra left for Cuddalore on Monday evening without letting her hostel-mates know. As research students have individual rooms , her friends did not notice her leaving.
According to the police, Chaitra consumed poison when she reached the Kempegwoda bus terminus to board a KSRTC bus to Cuddalore. Forty minutes into the journey, when the bus was in Lakkasandra, she started to throw up. It was when the conductor offered her a drink of water, that she told him she had consumed poison.
Chaitra was then taken to a nursing home on Siddapur Main Road, and later moved to Victoria Hospital. She died around midnight.
Police sources say Chaitra was upset as her parents were planning to get her married against her wishes. However, no suicide note has been found.
It was with the help of three telephone numbers, scribbled on her left palm, that the police were able to contact her parents in Cuddalore.
On Tuesday morning, Chaitra's brother and uncle arrived in the city. The body was handed over after post-mortem.
Not long back, a student of IISc, Ajay Srichandra, committed suicide following alleged harassment by faculty members.
An IISc-appointed committee is still enquiring into his death.
More often than not, nursing homes hesitate to take poisoning cases, as they fear medical and legal complications.
In spite of a Supreme Court ruling that every emergency case should be provided first aid before being moved elsewhere, doctors prefer to refer the patient to a bigger hospital if the poison is unknown and the patient critical.
"Though it is obligatory for any doctor to attend to emergency cases, poisoning cases are tricky. Every centre should assess its ability to handle any complication that could arise after first aid. If the answer is no, it would be wiser to shift the patient to a bigger set-up. It is risky to follow general protocol for poisons as it needs specific treat
ment," a chief medical officer of a hospital was quoted.
Emergency care experts believe otherwise. "The city needs a poison control centre and helpline to guide smaller clinics in handling cases. The legalities must be simplified," opines an emergency specialist.
"Advice must be sought from experts while treating poisoning cases as treatment for each type of poison differs and not all of them have antidotes," said a doctor.