Surgery scam leaves thousands of Indian women unable to bear children

As if exploitation of poor Indian women as surrogate mothers and egg donors were not enough, surgeons may have removed the wombs of 7,000 healthy women in Chhattisgarh – a poor and largely rural state in central India -- to enrich themselves by making fake claims under a national insurance scheme. Officials believe that about 2,000 women were persuaded to have hysterectomies in the last six months alone.

It is alleged that doctors frightened poor women from remote areas into having surgery by telling them that they might get cancer without it. Some women even had hysterectomies for back pain. “Panic and fright left us with no option,” a 31-year-old woman, who can no longer bear children, told the Hindustan Times.

“It has become a sensitive and serious problem. We are investigating whether these surgeries were being done just for the money or were genuinely needed. The government will take stern action against those found guilty,” says state health minister Amar Agrawal.

The state health department plans to take legal action against 22 clinics which apparently did unnecessary surgery and has recommended that nine doctors in the private sector be deregistered. ~ BBC, July 17

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