India doctor arrested, denies role in women deaths
NEW DELHI (AP):
The doctor who conducted sterilisation procedures after which 13 women died in central India was arrested, but insisted he didn't do anything wrong, even though he said he used to perform up to 10 times more surgeries a day than allowed.
Dr R.K. Gupta, who had been hiding since Saturday's operations, was arrested at a relative's home near Bilaspur city late Wednesday, said Dr S.K. Mandal, the chief medical officer of Chhattisgarh state.
Gupta denied responsibility for the deaths and blamed medication given to the women after the surgeries.
A total of 83 women had the surgeries as part of a free government-run mass sterilisation campaign and were sent home that evening. But dozens became ill and were rushed in ambulances to private hospitals in Bilaspur.
Mandal said at least 13 women died and dozens more were hospitalised, including at least 16 who are fighting for their lives.
Gupta had performed the 83 surgeries in six hours, a clear breach of government protocol, which prohibits surgeons from performing more than 30 sterilisations in a day, Mandal said. He said investigators were also trying to determine whether the women, all of them poor villagers, had been given tainted medicines.