Mangaluru: An Indian-origin doctor working in Bahrain faced termination from the Royal Bahrain Hospital after posting controversial messages on social media related to the Israel-Hamas conflict. Dr. Sunil Rao, a specialist in internal medicine, expressed support for Israel and criticized terrorism in his posts. The hospital took immediate action, citing a breach of its code of conduct.
In a statement posted on X, the Royal Bahrain Hospital emphasized that Dr. Rao’s posts were of a personal nature and did not reflect the hospital’s opinions or values. While recognizing the importance of freedom of expression, the hospital found his statements offensive to their society.
Dr. Rao, an alumnus of Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam and Kasturba Medical College in Karnataka, had been practicing medicine in Bahrain for a decade. In light of the controversy, he publicly apologized for his remarks and acknowledged that his statements were insensitive, considering the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
In his statement posted on X, Dr. Rao expressed his deep respect for Bahrain, its people, and its culture. He emphasized his commitment to treating all lives with care and compassion, underlining that as a doctor, every life matters. Dr. Rao conveyed his profound regret over the consequences of his actions and recognized that he had not considered the sensitivity of the situation in the context of the ongoing conflict.
The Israel-Hamas conflict has led to widespread suffering and loss of life. Palestinian health authorities reported fresh attacks, including an airstrike on a Palestinian refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, resulting in the deaths of 13 individuals, including five children.
I would like to apologized about the statement that I posted on this platform.
It was insensitive in the context of the current event. As a doctor all lives matter. I respect this country its people and its religion deeply as I have been here for past 10 years.
كلماتي و افعالي
— SUNIL J RAO (@shilpasunil_rao) October 19, 2023
In a particularly tragic incident earlier this week, the Al Ahli Arab Baptist Hospital in Gaza City was struck by a devastating bomb. This attack resulted in the tragic loss of life, with at least 471 casualties, including children, healthcare staff, and internally displaced people.
The conflict has also had dire consequences on Gaza’s infrastructure. Since October 11, the region has faced a complete electricity blackout due to Israel’s suspension of electricity and fuel supplies. This, in turn, led to the shutdown of Gaza’s sole power plant, leaving residents without access to basic necessities.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs (OCHA) reported that the siege on Gaza persists, with the Rafah, Erez, and Kerem Shalom crossings remaining closed. The situation remains critical, and the international community is closely monitoring developments in the region.
The termination of Dr. Sunil Rao from his position at the Royal Bahrain Hospital underscores the impact of social media posts during times of conflict and the need for sensitivity and responsibility in online communications. The incident serves as a reminder of the complexities surrounding freedom of expression and the consequences it may carry when posted in a professional context, particularly within the healthcare sector.