Dozens of women were abandoned unconscious in a field after being sterilized at a rural health center in India.
Two doctors carried 106 sterilization operations in a single day at government-run Manikchak Rural Hospital in West Bengal as part of mass ‘health drive’.
The patients should have been kept under observation for at least three hours, but with only 30 beds at the hospital reserved for women, they were left on the pavement with no medical assistance or protection against infections.
As many as 110 women were dumped on an open field for hours after a mass sterilization program in West Bengal’s Malda district
The doctors at the government-run hospital are now under investigation and at least one health officer has been suspended.
The ill-equipped hospital has a total of 60 beds, only half of these are available to women, the rest to men.
The hospital’s two doctors – Dr Amal Krishna Pal and Dr Joydip Majumder – carried out the procedures on over 100 women with the help of a gynaecologist, Dr Purnendu Rang, who was called from the nearby Ratua rural healthcare center.
The sterilization drive broke a number of rules regarding health and safety procedures, drastically overstepping the limit of 25 sterilizations per day and ignoring the three hours of observation.
After the surgical procedure, the doctors asked the helpers to move every patient to the adjacent field, a majority of the women were still unconscious.
Disgrace: The image show women lying in a field outside the hospital with no medical aids and with only their relatives to help
The patients were carried out and casually dumped under the open sky in the hands of their relatives. Unable to bear the pain in the absence of proper care, some of them fainted.
Many of the patients were sent off on rickshaws, though they were not in a state to make any journey.
A district health official said the hospital has no ambulance.
‘We all know there is a severe risk of morbidity during sterilization and the question whether this has been taken care of or not,’ health activist Ratnaboli Ray told NDTV.
One of the patients, Pinki Mondal of north Chandipur village, fell off the rickshaw as it collided with a matador. She was rushed back to the center with critical injuries and was referred to the district hospital.
Risk: The images from NDTV show an unconscious woman being lifted onto a blanket outside the hospital after her surgery
No care: Hospital workers have lifter a woman off a stretcher and are placing her on the pavement, leaving her unaided post-surgery
Local health officials acknowledged that the patients’ treatment was shockingly insufficient, and a full report has been requested from the hospital.
Malda’s chief medical officer of health (CMOH), Bidhan Mishra, said: ‘We have come to know about the incident. It is not acceptable. We have ordered an inquiry and asked the hospital authorities to submit the report in the next 48 hours.’
Mishra, however, claimed that the Manikchak health center has six doctors, including Dr Rang.
Bengal’s women and child development minister Sabitri Mitra, who is also the local MLA, said: ‘This irresponsible act will not be tolerated. The CMOH is looking into it and necessary action would be taken.’
Mitra said a section of doctors were deliberately trying to malign the government’s image.