Botched sterilisation kills 10

Chhattisgarh shame: 70 critical; 4 doctors suspended

Botched sterilisation kills 10

Ten women died and more than 70 admitted to hospitals in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district following a mass-sterilisation drive that reportedly went wrong, compelling Prime Minister Narendra Modi to swing into action.

As many as 83 women were operated upon at a mass-sterilisation camp at Nemichand Hospital in Sarki under the Takhatpur block of Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district on November 8.

The women were discharged an hour after the operations. Around 10 hours later, they started vomiting and their blood pressure dropped sharply.  Members of their families took them to Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Science (CIMS) in Bilaspur, a district-level government hospital, and private hospitals in the area. Ten have died so far and others are still in critical conditions

As the news hit the headlines, the Raman Singh government suspended state family planning in-charge K C Uraon, Bilaspur chief medical and health officer R K Bhange, Bilaspur district hospital surgical specialist R K Gupta and Takhatpur block medical officer Pramod Tiwari. The government has also registered criminal cases against them.

The doctors under the scanner defended themselves. “The sterilisation operations were conducted via laparoscopic tubectomy. The operations were performed successfully. All the operation tools were cleaned. There was no negligence by the doctors. The patients started vomiting after taking medicine,” said  Gupta, who conducted the operations.

Sources said the state government had given Gupta a target of 50,000 sterilisations. The camp might have been organised in a hurry and without proper care, leading to the tragedy, said sources.

All the women who were operated belonged to the below poverty line category.
“Whether it is a case of medical negligence or reaction with the drug or anything else, we can’t ascertain that now. The state government has constituted a three-member inquiry committee to investigate the matter. Everything, including used instruments, blood samples and post-mortem reports, will be examined. The report will be submitted to the state government within a month,” said Singh after visiting the CIMS, where some of the women were admitted.

In addition, the chief minister announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the family of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the patients in hospital.

The state government will provide free treatment to all the patients.  Meanwhile, Modi called Raman Singh from Myanmar's capital Nay Pyi Taw and asked him to ensure a “thorough investigation” and take strict action against the guilty.

A four-member technical team from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi, including specialists in gynaecology and anaesthesia, is being sent to Bilaspur to aid the state machinery in the investigation.

“We have sought a report from the state government,” said Union Health Minister J P Nadda.

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