Nurse misled woman on female foetus?

The investigators are now focusing on this angle after the post-mortem of the woman established that she was actually carrying a male foetus and searches at the scan centres in Usilampatti failed to throw light on whether determination of the sex of the foetus was done.

With the case turning mysterious each passing day, the Health Department has constituted a two-member high-level committee to go into the issue in detail. Initial investigations suggest that nurse T Jayalakshmi, could have misled the woman into believing that she was carrying a female foetus by looking at her baby bump.

The woman, Ramuthayee, from Uthapanaickanoor village near Usilampatti in Madurai district, believed her words and wanted an to get an abortion since she already had three girl children.

Dr N Rukmani, Director of Medical and Rural Health Services, told DH that the high-level committee would visit Usilampatti and Uthapanaickanoor village on Monday to get to the bottom of the issue.

“This was the woman’s fifth pregnancy and she had three children, all of whom are girls. I think her first child died and she was visiting private clinics for check-up and did not register with the Primary Health Centre,” Rukmani said.

Though the needle of suspicion first pointed towards a scan centre, which was presumed to have determined the sex of the foetus that led to the abortion, Rukmani said reports and documents seized from the scan centre don’t indicate anything against the institution for now.

“The scan centre’s maintenance of records is poor and that does not make them guilty. So far, the investigation has established that the scan centre had done a scan only to ascertain the health of the baby. Since it is a complicated issue, our high-level team will conduct a detailed inquiry,” she said.  

Initial investigations also revealed that the woman did not register herself with the Primary Health Centre after discovering that she was pregnant and chose to visit private clinics. “In one of the clinics, Jayalakshmi befriended Ramuthayee and promised her to terminate the pregnancy at her home. The woman is alleged to have paid Rs 15,000 in advance,” sources said.

Usilampatti, 40 km from Madurai, was notorious for practicing female infanticide in 1980s and 1990s and it took a long time for the government and NGOs to bring about a change in people’s mindset. The barbaric practice of killing a girl child after it is born or terminating a female foetus even inspired ace Tamil director Bharathirajaa to devote his 1994 film Karuthamma to highlight the issue.

Officials said no case of female infanticide was reported from the region since 2000s.

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