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Bicycle pump use in sterilisation camp triggers outrage in Odisha

A doctor used a bicycle pump to inflate the abdomen of 56 women while conducting laparoscopic tubectomy on them, triggering public outrage in the area, officials said on Sunday.

The doctor Mahesh Prasad Rout operated the women Friday at a sterilisation camp organised by local authorities at Banarpal village, about 150 km from state capital Bhubaneswar.

Although, the surgeon defended the procedure saying that the use of such pumps is not new, it angered the local residents. With the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party staging protests, the government ordered a probe into the incident.

“I am not alone. Surgeons often use bicycle pump in the rural camps where the facility of an operation theatre and other sophisticated equipments are not available,” said Rout.

Rout said he has performed more than 60,000 such surgeries in a decade and received awards from the government and never come across any complaints.

Laparoscopic tubectomy is a surgical procedure conducted on women as a permanent method of contraception.

“The doctors should have used an insufflator to pump carbon dioxide gas into the abdomen of women. The insufflator has an automatic adjustment of gas pressure and flow performance. It keeps the process safe,” a senior surgeon of a private hospital said.

But Rout said insufflators are still not available in many hospitals and doctors are under pressure to use pumps as an alternative in camps. “We sterilise the pipe and nozzle tip of the pump before use,” he said.

Several workers and women activists of the BJP Saturday staged protests and ransacked the government health centre at Banarpal where the surgeries were performed.

State health secretary Arti Ahuja said the government has directed the administrative chief of the concerned district to probe into the incident and submit a report within seven days.

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