Sir Ganga Ram Hospital cardiologist was shot dead by his maid’s ‘husband’
Widely considered a “peacemaker” and “thorough professional” among his fraternity, Dr. Sanjiv Dhawan would often get issues between doctors negotiated at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, where he was vice-chairman of the Department of Cardiology.
Similarly, he tried to broker peace between his maid and her ‘husband’, but that proved a fatal mistake. Early on Wednesday morning, the man, a former Army commando, shot Dr. Dhawan straight through his heart, killing him instantly.
The brutal murder has left the country’s medical fraternity and many others shocked. “It is a case of a worthless person taking away a precious life,” said an agitated Dr. Sujay Shad, senior consultant cardiac surgeon at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, on Friday.
Recalling how Dr. Dhawan was always called upon to broker peace, he wondered if this proved to be his undoing in resolving the issue between his maid, Sangeeta, and her ‘husband’, Dharmendra Kumar. “She had only joined work about a fortnight ago, but still he tried hard to get her issue resolved.”
However, Dr. Shad is aghast at the way the accused shot at the doctor. “It is a reflection on our times. It is not gun culture, it is sheer madness which shows the level of moral decay which has set in this country. The people responsible for this are the politicians. Rather than doing business they should mould the future of society.”
Noting that the accused is not even repentant and has stated that he has been to jail before, Dr. Shad said this just shows the gravity of the situation. “To top it, such a person was employed by a bank, given a gun and bullets. What kind of a security system are we adopting?”
Cardiology Department chairman Dr. J.P.S. Sawhney described the late doctor as a thorough professional and a good human being. “He was a very gentle person who would always be smiling. He was instrumental in introducing the ‘group practice’ system in the Department under which all the incomes were pooled and then distributed among various doctors and staff. This did away with ego and competition among the doctors and helped us improve the occupancy per bed as now doctors did not just retain patients to earn more money. It also meant lower costs for the patients.”
More recently, Dr. Sawhney said, Dr. Dhawan was also actively engaged in administrative work pertaining to expansion of the Department. “He was very good with details on how the place should be spaced out and I recently made some changes as per his wishes.”
At a personal level, Dr. Sawhney mentioned how only last year Dr. Dhawan had himself donated blood platelets to save his life. “I was down with dengue and he just went to the blood bank and donated the platelets, which saved me as my count was down to around 10,000. Apart from being colleagues and friends, we also shared the same blood group, A Positive,” he said.
“In the last six months,” he added, “Dr. Dhawan would have saved the lives of at least 15 hospital consultants. He was a great hand at interventional cardiology and implanting stents. But when he was brought to the table, we could not save his life.”
The hospital organised a condolence meeting on Friday in memory of Dr. Dhawan in which, apart from the staff and serving consultants, a large number of his former colleagues also turned up. Chairman (Board of Management) Dr. D. S. Rana said it was tragic that a precious and noble life was lost to mindless violence.
Talking to The Hindu, Dr. Shakir Husain, Director of Interventional Neurology at Max Hospital, Saket, who had earlier worked at SGRH, said: “Such violence shocks everyone…Anger is there in every animal, but apart from humans no other uses it unless absolutely necessary. It is a paradox that we humans become worse than animals at time,” he said referring to Dr. Dhawan’s murder.
Dr. Rajiv Parakh, now Chairman of Vascular Surgery Division at Medanta Medicity, Gurgaon, said: “The ability and contribution of Dr. Dhawan can be gauged from the fact that almost all the senior doctors like Dr. K. P. Jain and Dr. K. C. Mahajan who had taught us and made the institution felt secure in undergoing treatment through him. He was very gentle and available round the clock to all his patients. It is the biggest prize for any doctor if his seniors trust him so much; it just shows his calibre and the loss society has suffered.”
Keywords: Sir Ganga Ram Hospital