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Pradeep Pattanayak

In an alleged case of medical negligence, family members of a woman claimed that the doctors at the Rayagada district headquarters hospital (DHH) left a cotton gauge in her abdomen during a C-section process, following which they had to spend Rs 10 lakh to remove the foreign object through surgery. 

They said the incident has not only made the victim undergo tremendous mental trauma and pain, but the negligence by the doctors cost the family dearly.

The incident came to the fore after the family lodged a complaint against the authorities of the DHH at the Rayagada police station on Tuesday. 

As per the complaint, Kanchan Halaba, a resident of Biriguda village under Laxmipur police limits in Koraput district had been admitted to the Rayagada DHH for delivery. She was operated upon at the gynaecology ward. Five days later, she was discharged from the facility. 

After a few days, Kanchan started feeling pain in her abdomen. As the pain didn’t subside, her family members took her to the Rayagada DHH once again. 

To their surprise, they alleged, without carrying out any examination on the patient the doctors prescribed some medicines and asked the worried family members to take her back home. “They told us she’s perfectly alright,” the family alleged. 

However, her pain persisted, becoming unbearable with each passing day. Left with no option, the family members took her to the Koraput district headquarters hospital (DHH). The doctors there conducted an Ultrasound test which detected a cotton gauge inside her abdomen, they said. 

“The world came crashing around us after hearing the test results. However, the lives of the mother and new born baby were more important than the money that was required for her immediate operation.  We got our lands and gold ornaments pawned to raise the amount,” said Kanchan’s father-in-law Jalandhhar Halaba.

The family then took her to a hospital in Visakhapatnam where the cotton gauge was successfully removed. The operation cost the family Rs 10 lakh.

“We have lodged a police complaint against the Rayagada DHH authorities with a demand for compensation,” said Jalandhar. 

When contacted, the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO), Rayagada DHH Lalmohan Routray said he has already directed a probe into the incident. “Stringent action would be taken against those found guilty,” he said.

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