Botched sterilisation surgeries at Chhattisgarh leading 13 women to death

Sai Manoj Reddy

There was a sterilisation camp which has been set at pendari village in bislapur district, Chhattisgarh. 83 women are operated by a single doctor in the span of five hours at the camp and almost all the women fell ill within the span of 72 hours from the date of operation. The reports says that till now 13 women died and 50 more are in the hospitals in critical condition. Almost all the women who were undergone the operations were from very poor families who came to the sterilization camp. It was also known that government was giving $20 to each person who undergoes operation. The doctor who performed these operations is not an inexperienced one, he won a award from the government for performing 50.000 sterilisations.The sterilisation procedures at Pendari flouted Supreme Court orders that allow a maximum of 30 operations a day with two separate laparoscopes. A single surgeon performed three times the permissible number in less than five hours.

The procedure in the sterilization of women is called as tubectomy. Female sterilisation works by sealing the fallopian tubes that carry eggs from the ovaries to the womb. This can be done using clips, clamps or small rings or by tying and cutting the tube – this stops the egg and sperm meeting, so pregnancy can’t occur.Eggs will still be released from the ovaries as normal, but they will be reabsorbed by the body instead.The procedure is very effective and straightforward when carried out correctly and by a highly trained professional. But it is not without risks.It requires an anaesthetic and there is a risk of damage to other organs during the procedure. There can be bleeding and infection too. It should also be considered permanent – it is difficult to reverse. In this process there is need to take care of patient after operation also till the patient is all right.

After all these happened the doctor was arrested and the medical officer was suspended and arrested. But in the inquiry it was found that there is no mistake in the procedure followed by the doctor, the drugs which used to treat patients after the operation is the main cause. The doctor R.K. gupta also said that there is no mistake done by him and he also said that he has been like scapegoat and was pressurised by the officials to do many operations in the lesser time.

Sonamani Borah, BilaspurDivisional Commissioner, said, “We found out that there is a strong suspicion of zinc phosphide poisoning. We have already sent the drugs used for the sterilisation operations and the Government has already banned six drugs which were used during these operations, and batch-wise”. He also said ,”We have seized 43 lakh tablets. Our local level investigations have confirmed that it is zinc phosphide but we will have to wait for the final report from the national lab. As of now the owner of the pharmaceutical company is behind bars and the government has already lodged an FIR under Sections 420 and 34.”

The irony is that two years ago, the Government had filed a case against the company and banned seven medicines. Clearly there is violation of rules and procedures for procurement of drugs. The Government has announced a judicial inquiry. The report is scheduled to come out after three months.

In response to the above tragedy in Chhattisgarh the government had given 4 lakhs to each family of the deceased and made arrangements to deposit a fixed amount of 2 lakhs for each child who lost their mothers and assured to bear all the expenses regarding the education till 18 years.

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