A study by a non-governmental organisation in Kalaburagi in Karnataka that threw light on some private hospitals putting women of the backward Lambani community through “medically unnecessary” hysterectomies has kicked up a storm here. The State government, on learning of the study, has closed down one of the hospitals where a high number of hysterectomies were performed.

A study by the Karnataka Janaarogya Chaluvali (KJC), an NGO working on health issues, shows high incidence of women undergoing hysterectomy in private hospitals in Kalaburagi — particularly those living in the Banjara tandas and in the neighbouring Omerga and Solapur cities of Maharashtra.

Sample of 76 taken

A random sampling of 76 women (of 487 who underwent hysterectomy in the recent past) has revealed that most hysterectomies were medically unnecessary. Gullible women were made “easy victims” by those running private hospitals in Kalaburagi city.

Of the women studied, 52 per cent were aged less than 35 and 29 per cent were below the age of 30.

In a private hospital in Kalaburagi city — which accounted for the largest cases of 156 hysterectomies — as many as 32 per cent were aged less than 30 and 59 per cent less than 35 years.

A spokesperson of KJC told The Hindu that the modus operandi was to “instil fear” among patients with common menstrual problems by saying that their uterus was irreparably “damaged” and needed to be removed immediately.

She claimed that there was a reason to believe a nexus between private hospitals and government grassroots-level health workers to bring recruit the patients.

The study, she claimed, had several instances where scan reports of the patients indicated other problems relating to kidney and urinary bladder. But the doctors, without treating these problems, performed hysterectomy although the uterus was a “normal study” in the scan reports.

On an average, around Rs. 27,000 is charged for hysterectomy, apart from hospital and medicine charges.

The spokesperson said 68 of the 76 women interviewed complained of continued health issues even after hysterectomy.

What is more, hospitals seldom handed over complete scan reports and discharge summaries to the patients. Only 54 of the patients interviewed had full records.

There’s a nexus between private hospitals and government health workers at the grass-root level to bring the patients