Angul: When the Government is boasting of having provided better and modernised healthcare, a shocking fact has come to the fore. Breaching the 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 on Friday last.
About 80 women from villages under Banarpal block had arrived at the Banarpal-based CHC round 5 am on Friday to wait for their turn to undergo sterilisation (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.
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 sterilised 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 hospital, a youth was seen pumping air into a patient’s abdomen using a bicycle pump. 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.
“I am not alone. Surgeons often use bicycle pump in the rural camps where the facility of an operation theatre and other sophisticated equipments are not available “Rout told IANS.
Rout said he has performed more than 60,000 such surgeries in a decade and received awards from the government and never come across any complaints.
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.
An amount of Rs 1,400 each was paid as Government assistance to 56 women who underwent the surgery. The amount was handed over through cheques. However, around 20 women left without undergoing the surgery because they didn’t have bank accounts to encash cheques.