Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Banarpal, Nov 29:
In shocking violation of essential safety norms, a bicycle pump was used to pump air into the abdomen of women undergoing tubectomy operation at a hospital in Angul district of Odisha on Friday.
In the absence of the necessary equipment, it is tempting to tomtom the use of a bicycle pump during a laparoscopic tubectomy surgery at a sterilization camp held at the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Banarpal as a wonderful example of ‘jugaad’, the Indian genius for innovation. But anybody with a passing knowledge of medical processes would tell you that it is scary and fraught with grave risks.
Coming as it does barely two weeks after the death of over a dozen expecting mothers at a sterilization camp in neighbouring Chhattisgarh, the incident highlights the fact that doctors throw safety norms to the winds to meet tubectomy targets given to them by governments.
About 80 women from villages under Banarpal block arrived at the CHC round 5 AM on Friday to wait for their turn to undergo sterilization (tubectomy) surgery.
As advised by the medical staff, all of them had come with empty stomachs. Some of them, who had come from distant villages, had even hired auto-rickshaws for the journey to the hospital at Banarpal and back.
With no waiting halls or rest sheds for patients at the CHC, women with babies in their arms had to wait under the shade of trees for the surgeon, who arrived at the camp only at 1 PM.
In the absence of an Operation Theatre (OT) or a sterilized room at the CHC, surgeries were conducted in an ordinary room.
Laparoscopic tubectomy surgery requires pumping/blowing of air into the abdomen to inflate it. But in the absence of necessary equipment for the purpose at the Banarpal CHC, a youth was seen pumping air into a patient’s abdomen using a bicycle pump used for inflating bicycle tyres.
Even more scary is the fact that it was not a one off happening at the Banarpal CHC, where family planning operation camps are organised regularly. In a desperate bid to meet targets, women are routinely roped in for tubectomy operations at such camps by ASHA workers.
Dr Mahesh Prasad Rout, the surgeon who conducted the surgeries, admitted the use of the bicycle pump. He said that since there was no alternative equipment available at the hospital, a bicycle pump was used to pump in air into the abdomen of women to inflate it for conducting the surgery.
Locals have drawn attention of the district health officials and the district administration to the irregularities and lack of proper infrastructure in such camps on several occasions, but to no avail.
Tubectomy surgeries were conducted on 56 women on Friday at the camp which lacked basic infrastructure.
An amount of Rs 1,400 was paid as government assistance to a woman undergoing such surgery. The amount was handed over through cheques. However, around 20 women left without undergoing thesurgery because they donlt have bank accounts to encash cheques.