Published: 08th May 2020
Mark your own Corona test as negative: Thoothukudi Medical College Dean says his words were 'misconstrued' after video goes viral
The dean, Dr B Thiruvasagamani told us that the video had been misconstrued and presented in a 'misleading manner'
In a video that is going viral on social media, the Government Thoothukudi Medical College Dean can be seen telling a student that he cannot give him a test for COVID-19. He also adds that the student himself could write down that they (the students) themselves tested negative and submit it to him. When the students question how it was right for them to do so, the dean can be heard saying that it was okay as "that's how it is done."
However, when we contacted him had a whole other story to tell. The dean, Dr B Thiruvasagamani told us that the video had been misconstrued and presented in a 'misleading manner'. He claimed that the students (final year students who just concluded their degree) had been demanding that their certificates be issued to them and had refused to listen to reason, "They were adamant that we give them their certificates - the completion certificate and others - but now with the lockdown, it is difficult for us to give them the certificates right away."
When questioned about his reaction to the requests for the COVID tests, Thiruvasagamani said that the students did not need a test at all, "The house surgeons went nowhere near COVID patients, so they don't require tests at all. The government is giving off passes to those who have health, medical emergencies, marriage or death ceremonies. The students are just confused about the criteria and think they need to get a test as well but they don't need one," he explained.
He said that the video had been shot in a way to mislead viewers, "The batch is not like the others, they are different from all the other batches we've seen," he said.
The students themselves seem to think that the dean doesn't like them very much, "There are several issues that we've had and he's always ignored us. So one issue we took up till the CM as well, after that he doesn't seem to like us at all," a student said.
But what troubles the students?
"We've had frequent run-ins with him, but lately it is about the hostel situation here," the student said. About ten days ago, the students were allegedly asked to vacate from the hostel that they were staying in and move to another one, "Two hostels are located in the hospital campus and the other is located in the college campus which is three kilometres away. First we were asked to move from one of the hostels in the hospital to the other one because they wanted to turn it into a COVID ward. So we did that," he said.
Then this morning, the students were asked to move to the hostel in the college campus which was three kilometres away. "The college is three kilometres away, how are we supposed to go there without any transport? And we just carried our luggage and moved it a few days ago, now again we have to vacate. Also there's no mess at that hostel, we have to travel here again for food, that's extremely inconvenient. Also, for the female students it isn't safe to travel so far late night after they finish their duty," he explained.
However, what really angered the students was that the electricity and power supply was allegedly cut off at the hostel. "They informed us that we had to vacate this morning and then immediately cut off the supply in order to force us to leave," he claimed.
Among the 150 students in this batch, 122 have passed their exams, the student said. "These 122 students have decided to go home now. But the 30 students who are remaining are the ones who are going to suffer," he said. However, the students returning home are worried that they might pass on something to their folks at home and thus demanded COVID tests, "In my home itself I have three high risk patients - my parents and my grandmother. We are all worried, that's why the students who went to meet him today had asked for a test," he said.
And that is how they claim the recording came about. "Since he had been continuously ignoring the students' pleas and had said the same thing that he did in the video two-three time in the past, some students decided to record him," the student said.
However, the Dean maintains that the video has been misinterpreted and believes that the students felt that by taking the video they could pressurise the authorities to give their certificates. "Don't know what their issue is but the students didn't require the test and they've misunderstood the requirements to get a pass. This video has been misconstrued," the doctor said.