Beating all odds: Hyderabad to get first transgender PG doctor
Dr Ruth Paul John’s struggle during her year-long legal battle and subsequent challenges to secure a seat of her choice sheds light on the broader situation faced by the transgender community.
HYDERABAD: Securing a position in the MD Emergency Medicine programme at ESI Hospital, Dr Ruth Paul John is set to become the first transgender doctor to pursue post-graduation in the nation. Supported by Osmania General Hospital (OGH) and voluntary organisations like the Helping Hand Foundation (HHF) and SEED, Dr Ruth successfully garnered funds to enrol in the MD Emergency Medicine programme on Monday.
Despite receiving well-deserved applause, the doctor’s struggle during her year-long legal battle and subsequent challenges to secure a seat of her choice sheds light on the broader situation faced by the transgender community.
Currently serving as a medical officer in the Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) wing at OGH, Dr Ruth is one of the first transgender doctors employed in a government hospital in the State. Upon learning about her, the superintendent of OGH, Dr B Nagender, extended a helping hand and launched a campaign to assist her in covering the Rs 2.5 lakh fee required for her admission. In a remarkable display of support, the staff and management of OGH managed to contribute Rs 1 lakh within a day.
“With limited time for admission, urgent funds were necessary. That is when Dr Nagender connected her with us,” said Mujtaba Hasan Askari, the founder of the HHF, a non-governmental organisation in the health sector. “Recognising that Dr Ruth is a deserving candidate, we consulted our partner, the SEED Foundation in America, and together we decided to contribute an additional Rs 1.5 lakh,” he added.
Speaking to TNIE, Dr Ruth Paul revealed that opting for MD Emergency Medicine at ESI Hospital emerged as her final choice during the counselling process, despite her initial preference for Obstetrics and Gynecology. Guided by her NEET PG score, she filed a writ petition in the Telangana High Court aiming to secure a transgender reservation. The National Medical Council challenged her eligibility, asserting that she had already claimed reservation under the SC category. “My fight aimed to establish a horizontal reservation for medical admissions, particularly benefiting trans men and women,” said Dr Ruth.
Although the HC issued interim orders to grant her the status of the third gender and recommended a decision that would favour her, the doctor’s eventual option was not her preferred one. “The court’s orders allowed me to select both the course and the college. However, my initial notification was for admission to Pathology, a choice I never made. Subsequently, I was offered the MD Emergency Medicine seat at ESI Hospital, which was actually my last resort,” claimed Dr Ruth. As she prepares to enter the second phase of counselling to secure the seat she desires, Dr Ruth will be poised to become the nation’s pioneer in pursuing PG in the medical field.