Bandikui township, 103 km from Jaipur, is a study in contrast. On the one hand, there are the doctors of the private hospitals driven to striking, offended by media reports blaming them for the removal of uteruses of 226 women. On the other, are the victims and their families, yet to come forward and lodge a complaint, according to Prem Devi Bairwa, the sarpanch of Bandikui.
Owner of the Madan Hospital and president of the Bandikui chapter of the Indian Medical Association, Devender Madan, said, “All private hospitals in Bandikui are shut today and tomorrow, and so are all private hospitals and chemists in Dausa in protest against the ill publicity by the electronic media.”
An RTI application by Dausa-based NGO Akhil Bharatiya Grahak Panchayat has revealed the uteruses of 226 out of 385 women patients were removed by surgery in five private hospitals — Madhur Hospital, Madan Hospital, Katta Hospital, Balaji Hospital and Vijay Hospital — in Dausa district of Rajasthan between March and September 2010.
The surgical procedure for removal of the uterus is known as hysterectomy.
When asked what it was that took them to the hospital, irrespective of age the women of Bandikui gave the same answer – dard (ache). It was the men who spoke up. According to Teeja Devi’s son, his mother had an irregular menstrual cycle, so they went to the Balaji Hospital. “The doctor told us that the bachchedani (uterus) was full of gaante (fibroids), and its last stage. So we got it removed.”
Sita Bai, 24, a widow with three children, has a similar story. “I went to the hospital in the morning and I was operated upon in the evening.” The other women HT spoke to paid anything between Rs7,000 and Rs20,000.
Dr Adarsh Bhargava, senior consultant gynaecologist, Fortis Escorts Hospital Jaipur, said, “Generally the uterus is removed after 40. It may be removed at a younger age if there is any problem, but only after a thorough investigation.”