Bilaspur sterilisation deaths: Labs confirm poisonous content in medicines

Nearly two weeks after botched sterilisation surgeries claimed 13 lives and left many critical, medical reports have confirmed the presence of poisonous substance in the medicines which were distributed to the women at the state-run tubectomy camps in Bilaspur.

PTI| Last Updated: Nov 23, 2014, 19:05 PM IST

Bilaspur: Nearly two weeks after botched sterilisation surgeries claimed 13 lives and left many critical, medical reports have confirmed the presence of poisonous substance in the medicines which were distributed to the women at the state-run tubectomy camps in Bilaspur.

"The medicines which were provided to the affected women at the camps were found to be substandard and traces of poisonous substances were also found in it as per the medical reports," Health Minister Amar Agrawal told reporters here last night.

He said the reports of samples of medicines and viscera have been received from all the laboratories, including Delhi and Kolkata, and were handed over to police for further action.

"All the reports have been received and it is now clear that poison-contaminated medicines caused the deaths of women," he said.

However, the Minister did not specify the kind of poisonous substance and in which medicine it was found.

Agrawal also did not rule out negligence on the part of doctors who conducted the procedure and supervised the camps.

"Doctors had allegedly violated the standard protocol of operation, therefore we can't say that they are not guilty. They operated upon several women together within a short time. They should have taken care of disinfection and cleanliness of the operation theatre and equipments in the camps too," he said.

Medical reports will be further handed over to the state-constituted judicial commission probing the incident and after a thorough probe things will be clearer, he added.

Earlier, Principal Secretary of Health Department Dr Alok Shukla had said that medicines contaminated with zinc phosphide, used as a rodenticide, could have led to the death of 13 women who underwent tubectomies.

While 12 of the 83 women, who were operated upon at Nemichand Jain Cancer and Research Centre at Pendari village of Takhatpur block on November 8, died, a protected Baiga tribe woman was the lone casualty at Pendra block, where around 56 women underwent surgeries at three different camps on November 10.

Over 130 women had fallen ill after the surgeries.

Under attack from the opposition Congress which demanded his and Health Minister Amar Agrawal's resignation after the incident, Chief Minister Raman Singh had constituted a judicial commission chaired by a retired district and session judge Anita Jha.

The Chhattisgarh government has terminated the services of the laparoscopic surgeon R K Gupta, who had conducted the botched-up sterilisation at Pendari camp, and Chief Medical and Health Official, Bilaspur, R K Bhange, supervising the procedure for "dereliction of duty" and "negligence".

An FIR was also registered against Gupta following which he was arrested in this connection.

Besides, three officials of Health and Food and Drug department have been suspended.

Moreover, Ramesh Mahawar, director of a drug company - Mahawar Pharma Pvt Ltd and his son Sumit, which allegedly supplied "poor quality" medicines administered to the victims of sterilisation surgeries, were arrested on November 13 and all the products of their manufacturing unit have been banned across the state.