What happened in a sterilization camp in Chattisgarh was appalling. A single doctor conducting sterilization on 83 women leaving some dead and others ill suits best for a perfect crime story. It so happened that in Pendari village in Chattisgarh, in a government conducted sterilization camp, a single doctor conducted laparoscopic tubectomy on 83 women, leaving 11 dead and 69 others ill. This incident happened on the 8th of November. In a similar such incident, in another sterilization camp in Guarella, on November 10 (same district), again a single doctor performed similar sterilization in yet another government sponsored sterilization camp leaving one dead and 12 seriously ill. In the second case, again a single doctor performed sterilization on 56 women in one day.
This incident was highlighted by the media and led to a massive outrage. There are some serious questions to be answered. How many tubectomies can a doctor conduct in a single day? Are the needles used for tubectomies hygienic? Are the medicines provided to the patients proper? Who is to be blamed for the crisis? Does this kind of crisis expose loopholes in the administration? Can the government be held accountable?
According to the rules of 2008, a doctor has to abide by certain principles for sterilization procedures to be conducted on patients in government camps. A surgeon cannot operate more than 30 women in a day. Even if there are more surgeons, helpers and equipments, not more than 50 tubectomies can be conducted in a day. In the first case, all the surgeries were conducted within five hours and also the same amount of time was devoted in the second case. There is a popular saying that haste makes waste. So could the doctor be at fault on his part?
The surgeon in the first case, Dr R.K Gupta has been arrested. He blamed the government for supplying poor quality of medicines and pleaded innocence. He even accused the health officials of framing him. The chief minister had ordered a probe in the matter and it was established that the antibiotics provided to the patients contained zinc phosphide, a chemical used for making rat poisons. With these shocking revelations, speculations are rife and questions remain unanswered. Rules are bound to be flouted as long as compensation is given to women undergoing such surgeries and doctors are paid according to the number of surgeries performed by them.
So care should be taken in future for not repeating such mistakes. Such incidents are a tragedy to the nation as a whole and the families of the victims in particular. May the system do its job efficiently.