More 'mass caesarians' in Kerala

A probe has been ordered into reports that 16 women underwent caesarian section on April 16, 18 and 19 at Kadakakal government hospital to suit the convenience of the anaesthetist who wanted to proceed on a 10-day leave from April 20.

District Collector G Lalithambika has directed the District Medical Officer to conduct an enquiry and submit a report tomorrow, official sources said. The first scandal erupted last week, when 21 caesarian sections were performed in two days at Cherthala government hospital, following which the district medical officer in Alappuzha recommended action against four doctors, including the superintendent after a preliminary probe.

In both cases, the allegation is that such a large number of operations were performed without taking into account basic factors like bed-strength in the state-run hospitals, where mostly women from less privileged sections come for delivery.

The serious medical irregularity at Cherthala hospital came to light with relatives of some women complaining about the mass caesarian sections. It was alleged that some of these cases involved women who could wait a few more days for normal delivery. The doctors allegedly advanced the deliveries to suit Easter holiday plans.

The government had a string of holidays ahead of Easter last week. But there are restrictions on doctors and paramedics in government health services absenting from duty on holidays.

At Kadakkal, relatives of the women who underwent operation between April 16 and 19 alleged that gynaecologists had given them dates for normal delivery between April 25 and 30.

According to Director of Health Services, Dr Kumari G Prema, the action against the four doctors at Cherthala would be decided after getting the detailed report from the Vigilance wing of the department.

With the scandal breaking out, health experts have pointed out that the number of caesarians performed every year in Kerala far outstrips the WHO limits. While the UN health agency has fixed caesarian sections not to exceed 15 per every 100 deliveries, it is as high as 45 in Kerala.

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