Doctors caught removing the wombs of poor women for money

By: John Roberts

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People look up to doctors as being extremely ethical. Doctors make life and death decisions for people every day.

Doctors however in Chhattisgarh performed hysterectomies on poor women in villages without a valid medical reason in order to claim the money from a national insurance plan, the state health minister said.

Under the program launched in 2008, doctors may claim up to 30,000 rupees for the treatment of poor families, providing a safety net to help pay for expensive hospital surgeries. But critics say the program was exploited by unscrupulous doctors.

"Women were deliberately misled by doctors who removed their uterus to get money," Health Minister Amar Agrawal told the news media.

"According to my information, doctors have made so far to about 20 million rupees in recent months
 by the removal of the uterus without valid medical reasons."
The state government reviewed 1,800 hysterectomies performed in the impoverished state as part of an investigation into the alleged scam. Many operations are suspected to have been made illegally, government sources told the news media.

A woman cannot have children after the removal of a uterus and the procedure is often accompanied by the removal of the ovaries, which some studies have linked to cause early onset of osteoporosis and other serious side effects.