Bilaspur: Under attack over botched sterilisation surgeries at government-run medical camps which have so far claimed lives of 13 young women in Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Raman Singh on Thursday announced a judicial probe into the incidents.
The surgeon who performed tubectomy procedures on 83 women at a camp at Pendari village in a matter of few hours, has been arrested and the state's Food and Drug Administration authorities have sealed a manufacturing unit which allegedly supplied sub-standard medicines administered to the victims.
"A judicial inquiry will be conducted into the incidents and those found guilty will not be spared. Whether it is the medicine manufacturer, distributor or doctors, Strict action will be taken," he told reporters at Chhattisgarh Institute of Medical Science (CIMS).
Singh, who visited various hospitals where the afflicted women have been admitted, said 138 women on whom tubectomy procedure was performed at camps in Pendari and Pendra areas are undergoing treatment at Bilaspur.
"Of the 52 women admitted to Apollo Hospital, 2 are on ventilator, 3 are undergoing dialysis and 5 on non-invasive ventilator (NIV) system, while others are normal. Besides, rest of the women admitted to CIMS and district hospital are normal," he added.
Over allegations of sub-standard medicines having been administered to the victims, he said the samples were being sent to Central Drug Testing Laboratory in Kolkata and a conclusion could be drawn only after reports have been received.
A 16-member team of doctors from Apollo Hospital, Hyderabad, arrived here today and examined the patients.
The team will stay put in Bilaspur till the time those afflicted recovered, the Chief Minister said.
The drug controlling authority sealed a unit of Mahawar Pharma which manufactures Ciprocin 500 mg tablets used at the camps where surgeries had been performed.
"A raid was conducted at the drug manufacturing unit of Mahawar Pharma this morning and after collecting samples of medicines from there it was sealed," Controller, FDA, Ravi Prakash Gupta told.
"We have suspended sale and supply of products of the
company across the state and directives have been issued to chemists?and drug suppliers in this connection," Gupta said.
During the raid, a significant quantity of drugs were found burnt at the premises and a detailed report will be submitted to higher authorities in this regard, sources in the drugs control department said.
Chhattisgarh government has already suspended the sale of Ibrufen-400 and Ciprocin-500 tablets, Lignocaine and Lignocaine HCL injections and Zielone lotion. All these brands had been used in the operations.
Meanwhile, Dr R K Gupta, the surgeon who had performed tubectomy procedures on 83 women at Pendari village, 12 of whom died, has been arrested from a relative's house in neighbouring Balodabazar district.
The laparoscopic surgeon, who is claimed to have performed over 50,000 sterilisation surgeries in his career, claimed that sub-standard medicines supplied by the government caused post-operative complications resulting in the deaths.
"The condition of the women deteriorated after they were given pain killer Brufen and antibiotic Ciproxin following the surgery. Women started vomiting after consuming those medicines," he said.
"We cannot predict the quality of medicines just by looking at them. The state government is responsible for arranging the medicines and they should have checked those. Medicines are procured through a tender process and the lowest bidding manufacturer is preferred," he said.
"As per news reports, medicines provided at the camp were not properly checked. Locally-made medicines were supplied. If good medicines had been provided, this incident would not have taken place," Gupta said.
The surgeon said he alone cannot be blamed for the tragedy and demanded that like him all health officials suspended in connection with the incident and the Block Health Officer be charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.