‘Flawed’ birth control surgery claims 2 tribal women’s lives

The death of two tribal women after tubal ligation surgery — a birth control surgery — at a camp in Asansol has thrown up allegations of dubious standards followed by the district health officials organising such camps.

An inquiry into the deaths has revealed that the camp, organised in Kelejhora Grameen Hospital in Baraboni block a fortnight ago, flouted the guidelines for tubectomy prescribed by the ministry of health and family planning. The report adds that the women died of "some undiagnosed disease".

A fortnight after the deaths, the state government is yet to take action against the health officials responsible for the camp. Neither have the victims' families received the full compensation money prescribed by the government.

On December 14, Chandmoni Hembram (35) of Kalipathar village and Radharani Tudu (39) of Gaurangadihi village underwent tubal ligation —- a surgery performed to block a woman's fallopian tubes for permanent birth control. However, both the women died as they were being taken to Asansol District Hospital.

Their family members claimed that the camp was set up violating Union health ministry guidelines. The standard operating procedure (SOP) of organising a ligation camp for females states that each surgeon should be restricted to conducting a maximum of 30 laparoscopic tubectomies. However, in the Kelejhora camp, 39 women were registered to undergo the surgery.

The rules state that the tubectomy team should have 18 staff members and at least two tubectomy surgeons with two anaesthetists. But the Kelejhora camp allegedly had one surgeon and a retired homeopathy doctor.

After the women died, the district administration promised compensation of Rs 2 lakh and an inquiry was ordered. The inquiry by the district chief medical officer's office showed that 39 women were registered in the camp —- violating the rules —- and that only one surgeon was present in the camp.

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