Indian doctor creates 'suicide-proof' ceiling fan

An Indian doctor concerned about an uptick in suicides has constructed a new fan that won't support the weight of a person, in an effort to counteract the popular hanging technique. 

"Worried over the spiraling suicide graph in the [Indian Institutes of Technology, a prestigious group of colleges], a four-member committee had suggested replacement of ceiling fans with pedestal fans," the inventor, professor and cardiologist R.S. Sharma, told the Times of India of the device. "All they have to do is to install this device which will cost only Rs 450 (or $7.67) and breathe easy." 

The doctor was inspired to create the device when a young boy he knew committed suicide after failing his school examinations, according to ZeeNews.

He worked with welders and mechanics to engineer a solution: a fan with a spring-loaded shaft which will not support the full weight of a human being. 

Suicide rates in India are high and appear to be climbing, with about 190,000 suicides estimated in 2010, according to the BBC, or around 15 suicides per 100,000 people.

However, the country does not have one of the highest registered suicide rates in the world, according to WHO statistics: Greenland, South Korea, and Lithuania are the top three, though many suicides go unreported or are reported as other causes of death. 

Recent news headlines indicate that suicide by ceiling fan is not an uncommon occurrence in India. On Tuesday, a 20-year-old nursing student committed suicide with a fan in Delhi, while on Monday, a 14-year-old student hung herself from a ceiling fan after an apparent argument with her mother. 

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