At three prominent private hospitals of Srinagar surveyed by Greater Kashmir, on an average 17 hysterectomies are done in a month, against 20 per month at Lal Ded Hospital which caters to main rush of gynecology patients from across Kashmir.
Gynecologist Tasneem Gowhar admitted that hysterectomies are done in private hospitals ‘injudiciously.’
Even as the management of these three private hospitals said hysterectomies are done in cases of excessive bleeding and benign tumour of the uterus, officials in State Health department said the practice has been going on ‘unethically’ and hysterectomies are done even in cases of back-ache and minor-bleeding of uterus.
Most of the victims of this practice have reportedly gone into serious depression.
Officials said the PsychiatricDiseaseHospital receives 15-20 depression cases in a month of women subjected to unwanted hysterectomies.
The government also admits that the criminal practice is common in Kashmir, though doing little to prevent it.
In a circular issued recently, Director Health Services Kashmir has asked CMOs to curb unwanted hysterectomies, observing that doctors are doing it on the pretext of exploratory laprotomy. The circular also restricts general surgeons from performing hysterectomies. However, despite the directions, the Health department doesn’t have the recent figures of number of hysterectomies performed at private hospitals.
Director Health Services Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, said government has taken several steps to curb the unethical practice. “We know that hysterectomies are being carried out by doctors for lure of money. We have already sealed a hospital in Srinagar where doctors were carrying out hysterectomies in large numbers. We are in the process of collecting figures about the number of hysterectomies done in private hospitals,” he said.
PrincipalGovernmentMedicalCollegeSrinagar, Dr Rafiq Pampoori, said rampant hysterectomies done in private hospitals were a cause of concern. He said government has felt the need for a uterus conservation programme and doctors have been told that the surgical procedure should be done in the rarest of rare cases. “Through workshops we have also trained doctors about hysterectomies,” he said.
Medical Superintendent, LD Hospital, Dr Mushtaq Ahmed said the hospital carries out hysteroscopy for the ailment of uterus instead of hysterectomy. He said hysteroscopy, which is an endoscopic procedure, helps them cure ailments like uterus tumour and excessive bleeding, preventing surgical removal of uterus.
Government officials said hysterectomies have been rampant in Baramulla, Kulgam and Budgam districts.
Head of Department, Psychiatry, GMC Srinagar, Dr Muhammad Maqbool Dar said, “The young women develop hormonal changes due to unwanted hysterectomy and are prone to depression. The symptoms that the women develop include increased perspiration, general body ache and increased palpitation.”