Tubectomy Camp Incident: Women Left Unattended as Surgeon Takes Extended Tea Break

The surgeon left at 2.30pm and returned at night to complete the operations

Nagpur: A government-aided tubectomy camp in Khat village, located 40km from Nagpur, witnessed tense moments last week when four women in a makeshift operation theatre were left sedated and unattended for a minimum of four hours. This incident occurred after the surgeon administered anesthesia and left for an extended tea break. Dr. Bhalavi, the assigned surgeon from a rural hospital in Parseoni, was summoned only after restive villagers alerted district officials and the local primary health center.

An inquiry team arrived at the PHC in Mouda tehsil on Tuesday and recorded statements from the staff and the surgeon. Dr. Bhalavi, the surgeon, claimed that he is diabetic and had left for tea after experiencing a hypoglycemic attack. However, locals asserted that the doctor displayed uneasiness and left for Nagpur, abandoning the patients. Tushar Kunjekar, a resident of Khat, stated, "The surgeon left at 2.30pm and returned at night to complete the operations." The camp on November 3 was scheduled to perform eight surgeries, including seven tubectomies and one vasectomy, as part of the Central government's flagship family planning program, regularly conducted by the public health department at PHCs.

In response to the incident, the district health officer (DHO), Dr. Ajay Dawle, established a three-member probe panel. Dr. Dawle stated, "All eight operations were successful. A thorough inquiry will reveal facts," without providing specific details. He did not clarify whether the same surgeon completed the remaining four operations.

A senior health official explained that Dr. Bhalavi is a diabetic patient who felt unwell after performing the initial four operations and requested tea, which the PHC staff could not provide. It is believed he suffered from hypoglycemia. Each family planning operation typically takes around 30 minutes, including sedation, local anesthesia, and sterilization. PHCs typically have arrangements for two operation tables, with two beneficiaries operated on simultaneously. The senior official also refuted reports that "other doctors" had to step in after the surgeon's departure, stating that accredited tubectomy surgeons are not readily available, and the same doctor returned to complete the day's work.

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