Chennai : Doctor held for illegal scans, abortions

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Chennai : Doctor held for illegal scans, abortions CHENNAI: The police on Monday arrested a Vazhapadi, Salem-based gynaecologist for sex-determination and illegal abortion that led to the death of a 24-year-old pregnant woman. After her arrest, a court sent Dr Selvamba Rajkumar to jail.

On Saturday, after a woman named Lakshmi Manigandan died following a botched-up abortion at Niharika Hospital in Vazhapadi, officials sealed the hospital and seized the ultrasound equipment.

On Friday, officials went to the hospital when a pregnant woman, who came for sex determination to a clinic in Athur in the same district, told them Dr Sevambal offered similar services. “After we arrested the doctor in Athur and sealed her clinic on Thursday, we decided to raid this place immediately because we knew her clients will come here,” said DSP A Thomas Prabhakar. At the Vazhapadi clinic, officials found at least 10 women from different parts of the state waiting for the scan to determine sex of the fetus. “She did not have any records of women she screened although it is mandatory to maintain case sheets for at least two years,” he said. Officials booked Dr Selvamba on Friday for violation of the Act, but could not arrest her. “We took a decoy to Athur, but we did not have enough time to make arrangements for this clinic. For lack of strong evidence, we could not book her under stronger sections,” said superintendent M Kamalakannan.

On Saturday, officials received information about maternal death in the town. Preliminary investigation by block and district health officials showed Dr Selvamba had botched up medical termination of Lakshmi Manigandan. The family members told officials Dr Selvamba had, after a scan on April 18, informed them the fetus was a girl. The same day, she did an abortion. When the fetus was not expelled until the next morning, Dr Selvamba gave Lakshmi another dose of the tablet. “By 3pm, she took her to the operation theatre. When the process was complicated, she did a hysterectomy,” Kamalakannan said. But when the bleeding was heavy, Lakshmi was referred to a nearby private hospital, where she died that evening. The family members told officials they had paid ₹4,000 for sex determination and ₹12,000 for abortion. “Initially, the doctor did not admit. She said her hospital had no records of such scan or abortion. But when officials confronted Dr Selvamba with pre-operative test report from her hospital lab in the name of Lakshmi, she confessed,” said inspector Kumar Shankar.

Although more than 120 cases have been filed under the PCPNDT Act, Selvamba is only the second doctor to be arrested. Last week, police arrested Dr Dhamayanthi Rajkumar of Arthur for sex determination.

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