New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday termed the death of nine women in Chhattisgarh due to sterilisation surgery as an unfortunate incident and have expressed grief over it.
According to reports, Sonia, Rahul Gandhi have conveyed their condolences to the kins of those who have lost their close ones and have also prayed for the speedy recovery of those undergoing the treatment.
"Congress president Sonia Gandhi has expressed deep grief and sadness," the party said in a statement.
Rahul also demanded Chhattisgarh government to take strict action against the guilty and ensure best possible treatment for those in critical condition.
Soon after this shocking case of medical negligence came into foray today, the Union Health Ministry constituted a five-member panel to probe the case.
Earlier in the day, four health officials, including a senior surgeon and a Chief Medical Health Officer, were suspended in connection with the death of eight women, who succumbed to botched surgeries held at a government-organised sterilisation camp in Chhattisgarh's Bilaspur district. Later, one more patient died.
The state health department has also formed a three member committee has been constituted to investigate the incident.
A compensation of Rs 50,000 and free treatment will be provided to those who are hospitalised, reports said.
Apart from the deaths, 52 others have been hospitalised after undergoing surgeries at the sterilisation camp held under national family planning programme at a private hospital in Pendari village on outskirts of Bilaspur town on November 8.
About 83 women had undergone surgeries at the camp held at Nemichand Jain Cancer and Research Centre at Pendari in Takhatpur region.
The women were discharged after providing medicines on Saturday night but within 24 hours of the surgery, most of them complained of vomiting and abdominal pain following which 60 of them were rushed to different hospitals. Out of them eight died after their condition deteriorated, Bilaspur Collector Siddharth Komal Pardeshi said.
The deceased were all below 32 years of age. The condition of at least 10 others was stated to be critical, officials said.