An expert team appointed by the State government on Tuesday began its investigation into the controversy surrounding an unusual number of Caesarean operations (C-section) that were conducted at the Cherthala taluk hospital.

The team, which continued the inspection late into the day, refused to speak to presspersons, saying it would submit its report to the government soon.

Though no-one has come forward to justify the act of the accused doctors, there are complaints over the manner in which the issue has been handled by the government, officials, and the media.

Doctors and staff at the hospital, on condition of anonymity, said the disciplinary action should have been taken only after inspecting the case sheets and surgery records in detail, because not all of the four doctors who were transferred had conducted the surgeries. One among them was said to have been on duty at a church festival on Tuesday and Wednesday, when the 21 surgeries that the District Medical Officer verified took place and had not conducted any surgery in the said period.

Health Department officials said the action was in the name of lack of collective responsibility in adhering to medical ethics and not after seeing how many surgeries each doctor had conducted.

At the same time, concerns are also being expressed over how the incident will affect the hospital's image. The hospital was given special focus by the government.

The recent episode may result in the public being hesitant in approaching the hospital for other ailments as well, hospital staff point out, adding that only private hospitals that charge several times higher than the government hospital will benefit from the controversy.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, who visited the Cherthala Taluk Hospital late on Monday, told the media that a comprehensive probe was required into the issue. He said attempts to use the controversy to sabotage the image of a hospital that had been a pillar of support for the poor could not be allowed.

  • Lack of collective responsibility, says department
  • Doctors unhappy with the way the case was handled