By K G Venugopal
There are several instances of people receiving Arjuna award, Khel Ratna, Padmshree, Padm Bhushan or any other award posthumously. But have you ever heard someone getting MBBS degree awarded posthumously?
In rarest of the rare case, Vandana Das, a native of the Kaduthuruthy area of Kottayam district in Kerala received her MBBS degree after two and a half months of her death. Vandana was brutally stabbed to death by a patient at taluk hospital, Kottarakkara during her mandatory internship.
Her father K.G. Mohandas and mother Vasanthakumari received the certificate from the Kerala Governor and Chancellor of Kerala University of Health Sciences (KUHS) Arif Mohammed Khan at the convocation ceremony. Vandana was the only child to her parents.
Who was Vandana ?
Vandana Das was a 22 year old medical doctor who had studied at the Azeezia Institute of Medical Science, Kollam. She had passed the final year MBBS exam but had to complete the mandatory internship training programme as surgeon. For that she was working at the Kottarakkara Taluk Hospital.
On 10 May 2023, a crime suspect was brought for medical examination by the police at around 4:30 am at the Kottarakkara Taluk hospital. He attacked Vandana with a surgical scissor without any provocation and stabbed her to death.
Following the murder of Dr Vandana, the state government issued an ordinance that recommended stringent punishment, including imprisonment of up to seven years, for those found guilty of causing physical harm to medical professionals. Governor Khan approved the ordinance on May 23, 2023. Soon a Bill regarding this will be introduced in the assembly to make it a law.
What was the incident?
According to the police, this crime suspect named Sandeep, an upper primary school teacher, was found with injuries on one of his legs. He was under the influence of alcohol.
He was nabbed by the police after he voluntarily dialled 112 since he was making a ruckus in his neighbourhood over the fact that he was feeling threatened over his life by someone and was taken to the hospital for medical examination.
Two people, including a close relative, accompanied him to the hospital. At the hospital, Sandeep started attacking a policeman on duty and another person in the dressing room of the hospital. Seeing this, everyone around him fled, except for Das, who could not manage to run.
Sandeep then took a scissor from the dressing room and stabbed Das multiple times. She sustained multiple injuries on her chest and neck, and was immediately taken to a hospital in Thiruvananthapuram, where she died.
Her autopsy reveals that she was fatally stabbed by a “surgical scissor” over 10 times on her neck and back. Bystanders state Sandeep continued stabbing the victim even after she fell to the ground.
MBBS degree for Vandana
Since Vandana died before completing her internship, technically she could be awarded MBBS degree. But Kerela University of Health Science decided to award Vandana MBBS degree as she died while performing her duty. The decision was taken at the governing council meeting of KUHS headed by vice chancellor Mohan Kunnummal.
What happened to her murderer?
The Crime Branch after thorough investigation has filed a chargesheet before the Chief Judicial Magistrate. The The chargesheet states that the accused Sandeep killed Vandana in a deliberate act. The eleven-member crime branch team has amassed evidence and hundreds of testimonials to validate the findings. The accused Sandeep, however has moved the High Court seeking bail. The matter is still pending with the court.
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