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Bihar: Kidney Theft in Muzaffarpur Pvt Clinic Comes Under Police Radar

This latest incident has exposed the pathetic situation of healthcare in rural Bihar. It seems nothing has changed in Muzaffarpur as far as health facilities for the poor and marginalised are concerned.
Bihar: Kidney Theft in Muzaffarpur Pvt Clinic Comes Under Police Radar

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: The Indian Express

Patna: Days after it came to light that both kidneys of a poor dalit woman were allegedly removed and stolen at a private nursing home in the name of a uterus removal operation in Muzaffarpur district in Bihar, an initial probe has revealed that there was no operation theatre in the private clinic, and it also lacked all basic facilities. 

In violation of fundamental medical ethics, Subhakant Clinic in rural Muzaffarpur was conducting surgery without any official approval from the government agency.

Sunita Devi, in her early 30s, whose kidneys were removed last week, is still battling for life in an intensive care unit (ICU) in the government-run Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur after she was admitted for proper treatment following her condition deteriorated. Her ultrasound and CT scan reports conducted at SKMCH made it clear that both her kidneys were missing.

“When police team led by Muzaffarpur Senior Superintendent of Police Jayantkant reached clinic to enquire into the case on Sunday, a big lock was found hanging on the main door of it. The police then entered from the backside, and much to their surprise, there was nothing like a nursing home facility inside. For the namesake of an OT (operation theatre), a chair and a wooden bed (chowki) were found. It appears operations were conducted on this wooden bed under the light of only one bulb. Some bed sheets and pillows were found below the bed,” a police official told NewsClick.

The police team also found some low-quality medical equipment, a large number of medicines, some items used in surgery and prescription of patients from a table and other places in the three rooms of the clinic, police officials said.

Later, police sealed the clinic and deployed a police officer for security reasons. A Special Investigative Team (SIT) has been constituted to arrest absconding owners cum self-claimed doctors of the clinic. “SIT team raided some suspected places to arrest Pawan Kumar and Narayan Yadav during the last twenty-four hours,” police officials said.

Sunita - whose poverty-stricken husband Aklu Ram, a landless farm labourer - was hapless to take her to a big hospital in Patna for proper treatment after doctors in Muzaffarpur advised given her deteriorating condition, was happy now that her dialysis had started and there was a possibility to save her.

“I am a poor man, and I don’t have money to admit her to a private hospital in Patna. At last, thanks to district officials and doctors, she was admitted to SKMCH, and treatment has started.” Ram, a resident of a village under Sakra block, told NewsClick

Muzaffarpur civil surgeon UC Sharma said that a team of doctors from Sadar hospital and SKMCH have been monitoring her condition and treatment.

Ram recalled that Sunita, a mother of two, was rushed to Subhakant Clinic early this month following stomach pain. After examining her and conducting an ultrasound, doctors asked the family to immediately admit her for a uterus removal operation.

However, Sunita’s body swelled, and she complained of uneasiness and extreme weakness after the operation on September 3. Sensing trouble, a doctor at the clinic advised Ram to take her to Patna for better treatment.

However, the family was in shock 24 hours later when they admitted Sunita to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) after the private hospital “refused to treat” her and asked them to “consult a government hospital”.

 “We took her to Patna Medical College and Hospital, where doctors performed some tests and ultrasound and informed us that both her kidneys were missing. We were shocked,” Ram added.

According to Ram, PMCH doctors asked him to take Sunita to a kidney hospital for treatment. Subsequently, he returned to his village and consulted Muzaffarpur-based SKMCH and Sadar hospital but of no help.

Mentioning the expenses he had to incur for the treatment, Ram said, “First, I deposited Rs 30,000 at the clinic for the operation and later Rs 20,000 at a private hospital in Patna for treatment. I took a loan from a moneylender on high interest to save the life of my wife.”

Sunita’s mother, Terri Devi, has lodged an FIR against the clinic’s doctors, including owner Pawan Kumar, at Bariyarpur Police Station. Station house officer Rajesh Kumar told NewsClick that the FIR was lodged under the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act, 1994, and the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The complaint was forwarded to Sakra Police Station for further action.

According to Kumar, the clinic neither has its registration number nor the degrees of its doctors displayed on a board. Locals alleged that the clinic is run by self-proclaimed doctors. The doctors are absconding, and the clinic is shut, the police said.

This latest incident has exposed the pathetic situation of healthcare in rural Bihar. It seems nothing has changed in Muzaffarpur as far as health facilities for the poor and marginalised are concerned. Last year sixteen women and men, most of them elderly, had their eyes removed following alleged negligence during cataract surgeries by the private hospital in the district. Most of them are poverty-stricken and landless people from different villages of Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts of Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran and Sitamarhi.

Soon after the incident, a team of experts from Patna led by Dr Harishchandra Ojha, the blindness redressal officer, who visited the Muzaffarpur Eye Hospital to investigate the case, reportedly said that the operation theatre where all cataract surgeries took place last month was not even fit for animals. 

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