Top health official ties himself up in knots

Update: 2022-09-02 18:51 GMT
Director of public health Dr G. Srinivasa Rao. (Photo:Facebook)

HYDERABAD: The inquiry into the botched family planning operations on August 25 made some progress on Friday with Director of Public Health and Family Welfare Dr G. Srinivasa Rao, who is heading the probe, visiting the Government Hospital at Ibrahimpatnam in Ranga Reddy district where the procedure was conducted,  and yet again promising a “fully transparent” investigation into the episode that left 4 of the 34 women who underwent tubectomies dead.

Dr Srinivasa Rao said five women who were being treated at Apollo Hospital, and six at NIMS were being discharged on Friday. Thirty women had been admitted to these hospitals.

However, as he tried to explain what happened on August 25, Dr Srinivasa Rao tied himself up in knots — a possible indication that an acceptable narrative was being strategised.

Speaking with reporters at the hospital at one point that said preliminary findings indicated that there could have been some problems with sterilisation of the three sets of equipment used for the surgeries. Soon after, answering a question on sterilisation of equipment and the 20 minutes of time needed for it, he said the equipment was “sterilised with liquid paraffin. It just needs one minute in hot water, no more is needed.”

Then he said. “The same set of instruments was used on August 26 at another family planning operations camp in Chevella where 60 operations were conducted. No one was infected there. What happened here is unfortunate.”

Several surgeons that Deccan Chronicle has spoken with August 25 had said that a 30-minute sterilisation procedure was mandatory. Incidentally, Dr Srinivasa Rao also said that each surgery requires a mere two to three minutes against what minimum requirement of 15 to 20 minutes per surgery if they are to be performed with care.

Dr Srinivasa Rao said they were still probing what could have led to the infections that resulted in pus formation and sepsis among 25 women. The infection could have also been caused by consumables like cotton, he said. The women who died had gastroenteritis symptoms and foresnsic test results on samples collected from their viscera were awaited he said.

The report of the probe panel will be ready in a couple of days and as per the instructions of health minister T. Harish Rao, a fully transparent investigation is being conducted, he said. Asked why the hospital superintendent was suspended despite not being present on the day, Dr Srinivasa Rao said, “He was morally responsible.”

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