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Family alleges forced sterilisation by hospital
Family members of a young woman who recently gave birth to a second daughter, are alleging that the hospital where she delivered are trying to force the woman to undergo a Voluntary Surgical Contraception (VSC surgery) - a permanent family planning method - to ensure they do not have any children again.
S Padmavathi, a resident of Red Hills had been told that she would not be discharged without undergoing the surgery, according to her father Selvaraj. “She was initially supposed to get discharged on Sunday.
However, the staff began insisting that she undergo the surgery even though she has no interest in going through immediately,” he alleged, adding that they also approached the police who stated that they would look into the matter.
Stating that it is an indirect government policy, Dr Jaishree Gajaraj, a renowned Gynaecologist in the city, said, “The government - doctors and the nurses included – have to show certain statistics at the end of every month of how many cases they have actually counselled and taken up for family planning surgery. If they don’t do adequate surgeries, the government will ask harsh questions to the hospital and management. So, the staff are a little coercive about it.”
While it is essential to counsel the families, she said that a little more than just counselling tends to happen at government hospitals.
“We get time to talk to them and counsel them in private hospitals. However, it is extremely difficult in a government set up. In one night, there will be about 15 deliveries. Besides, most of these women will only approach them for their next delivery. They will not come for contraceptive advice or the like.”Authorities at the hospital, however, said that forcing an individual to undergo a surgery is not permissible.
“No one can impose a surgery on a patient unless the patient and her family give their consent in writing. We will look into the issue immediately,” said a Superintendent at the concerned hospital.
However, staff at the hospital, soon apologised to the family, stating that they had no intentions of forcing her, but were merely counselling the family, as is required by them.