Pregnant woman bleeds to death after sterilization

Feb 26, 20120 BHOPAL: A 35-year-old pregnant women bled to death in Madhya Pradesh‘s Balaghat district earlier this month while doctors were trying to sterilize her as part of the state government’s vasectomy-sterilization drive.

This comes days after CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan was forced to call an urgent video conference last week warning district collectors to “implement family planning only through counseling” amid widespread complaints of forced sterilization.

Rekha Wasnik, a poor labourer’s wife, died on February 9. But her post-mortem report was released on Saturday that described “external and internal bleeding” in her uterus from injuries caused by a sharp and pointed instrument as the cause of her death. The report said she was 12-week pregnant with twins — both girls – when she was operated.

Reports said an anganwadi workers had taken Rekha, a mother of six, to Balaghat the district hospital on February 9 for sterilization. The woman died hours after she began bleeding on the operation table.

Sources in the district said sheer negligence killed Rekha, as no checkup was done to see if she was fit to undergo sterilization. Normally pathology tests are done before a woman is sterilized which was not done in this case. There are no records any blood or urine tests having been done on Rekha.

Dr Anita Parashar, who operated Rekha, told TOI that she made the first incision and found she was pregnant. “So I stitched her up and told her to undergo an abortion.” Dr Parashar claimed that she left the hospital soon after and received a call later to inform her that the woman was feeling unwell.

The hospital quietly sent her body for post-mortem. But by then, word had spread about the issue and local Congress workers held a demonstration with Rekha’s body at the hospital gate till the next morning. “We refused to move the body from the gate till the administration assured that action will be taken against the erring doctor and medical staff. But a fortnight later now, nothing has been done,” said one of the protestors, Anoop singh Byas, adding the post-mortem report appears to have been delayed with purpose.

“We took the issue to the superintendent of police as well, but we were told that both the district collector‘s report and the post-mortem report are needed to register a case. They have delayed the post-mortem till Saturday, and the collector has told us that he sent the file to the state secretariat for instructions from the secretariat,” Byas added.

Balaghat district collector Vivek Porwal refused to comment on the issue, saying he was busy at the state assembly, which does not function on Saturdays.

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