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Botched abortion throws light on illegal sex-determination- Mrit News

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A 27-year-old woman’s illegal sex determination, her botched abortion by a quack in Dharmapuri and her eventual admission to critical care at Krishnagiri Government Medical College Hospital has thrown the spotlight on illegal sex determination and foeticide, despite attempts by hospital and health authorities to keep it under the radar.

On May 14, the woman Vanaja was admitted to Krishnagiri Government Medical College Hospital in a critical state. In the wee hours, a mysterious car had dropped Vanaja and her mother from Dharmapuri back at their house in Chettimarampatti village in Kaveripattinam, Krishnagiri, after a botched abortion attempt by a quack.

“It is almost like a Netflix thriller, cinematic”, says Thamarai Selvi, Block Medical Officer, Kaveripattinam, who was tasked with the inquiry into the incident at the block level. Vanaja had claimed she was accosted by a woman at some bus stop, who had offered to help her find out the sex of her foetus and abort it. A number–73975 44546– saved under the name ‘Priya’, was exchanged with Vanaja. (The number has since been switched off.) Vanaja and her mother were asked to reach Dharmapuri bus stand and wait there. From there, Vanaja was “blindfolded and taken to a scan centre” in Dharmapuri, where the foetus was determined to be female. She was then asked to return after two days for the illegal abortion. Vanaja and her mother were again picked up from Dharmapuri Government Hospital or the bus stand in a car. Her mother was dropped off midway and Vanaja was blindfolded and taken to an unknown location, according to her account to the Block Medical Officer.

Some oral medicines were given and a vaginal probe was performed by a quack at an unknown location. Vanaja had fainted midway after which her mother was called to take her daughter. They were also reimbursed ₹17,000 that they had paid to the quack.

The mother and the daughter were dropped back in a car at 3 a.m. on May 14, Saturday. Soon after, Vanaja had developed severe abdominal pain. Her mother had summoned a car and took her daughter, who was in a critical state, to a private hospital. The hospital had immediately referred her to Krishnagiri Government Medical College Hospital, where the patient had collapsed with a ruptured uterus. According to the Block Medical Officer, a laprotomy was performed (surgical incision of abdominal cavity), the dead foetus was removed and concurrent sterilisation was done. Vanaja’s accounts had signalled at a seemingly well-organised network operating clandestinely and preying on the patriarchal anxieties of the society.

On Wednesday, when The Hindu following a tip-off contacted the Dean of Krishnagiri Government Medical College Hospital Dr. B. Asokan, he said, “Countless patients were being admitted everyday” and he would not be aware of the incident. He then forwarded the contact of Dr. Umarani, Head of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Dr. Umarani, however, did not respond to calls or texts. The Joint Director of Health Services Dr. Paramasivam said the government medical college hospital was in the control of the Dean. However, an inquiry report was prepared by Dr. D. Ezhilarasi, mentor-gynaecologist, on the orders of JD Dr. Paramasivam, heading the district coordination team on the incident. “We do not know if there was a MLC (medico-legal case), but the JD told me to inquire and file a report.”

As of Thursday evening, no FIR was registered. “When we spoke to Vanaja’s husband, he said he was clueless and that his wife had done this unilaterally,” said the BMO. Vanaja is under treatment at the hospital.

When contacted, Vanaja’s husband Raghavan refused to speak but claimed that the doctors at Krishnagiri government hospital “asked us not to tell anyone. My wife and mother-in-law are scared and at the GH, we have been told not to speak to anyone”.

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