Scores of women were dumped unconscious in a field after a mass sterilization in eastern India because there was no room in hospital for them to recuperate, medical officials said Thursday.
The women had all undergone surgical procedures at a hospital in the Malda district of West Bengal, around 360 kilometers (220 miles) north of Kolkata, which officials admitted was not equipped to accommodate such a large number of patients.
The scandal came to light after news channel NDTV aired amateur footage of unconscious women being carried out of the hospital Tuesday by men and then placed on open land.
Local health officials acknowledged that the patients’ treatment was unacceptable and promised an inquiry.
“Over 100 women, mostly poor, came to the camp for the surgery. Immediately after the procedure, the doctors asked the helpers to move each of them to the adjacent field,” Biswa Ranjan Satpathi, West Bengal’s director of health services said.
“This is inhuman and we have ordered a probe into the incident,” he added.
Medical experts also voiced shock over conditions at the hospital, where four doctors carried out a total of 106 sterilizations in one day.
Uday Roy, a health campaigner who was present at the sterilization camp, said some of the women were shoved on rickshaws after surgery even though they were clearly in no fit state to make any kind of journey.
“A woman sterilized in the hospital fell off the rickshaw on the way to her home and she had to be hospitalized with severe injuries,” said Roy who works at Debalaya Trust, a voluntary organization providing free medical services.
Unlike China, India has no laws limiting the number of children a family can have.
However given its billion-plus population, local governments often offer incentives such as cars and electrical goods to couples volunteering for sterilization.