The Doctors Association of Kashmir (DAK), a prime body of the medicos working in Kashmir government hospitals has exposed the dirty underbelly of the medical profession in the restive region. Laced with facts and figures, the DAK President and noted medico Dr Nisar Ul Hassan said, “Doctors are motivated by money to perform needless surgical deliveries.”

The statement is self-explanatory, throwing light on how the expecting mothers are pushed to risk and duped for money. “There is a well-oiled nexus between private hospitals and doctors that is pushing patients into cesareans they don’t need. A perception has been generated that cesareans are better than normal deliveries. In order to convince perfectly healthy women to opt for an elective cesarean section before their due date, doctors tell them about so called benefits of the surgery,” informed Hassan in a handout.

“First-time mothers are especially targeted because if a woman has a C-section once, she would need surgeries for subsequent pregnancies. Doctors are paid much more money for a surgical procedure than a normal delivery and hospitals rake in money for patients’ longer stay and other related services,” he added.

The DAK reported that deliveries have become a lucrative business and private hospitals earn up to Rs 50,000 on a cesarean package. “A cesarean is less time consuming and more profitable. A doctor would do 12 cesareans in the time it takes to attend one normal delivery,” the report reads.

Apart from private nursing homes, surgical births have increased dramatically at government-run hospitals. To learn the technique, postgraduate students perform cesareans when they are not required. As per the WHO standards, C-sections should only be performed if either the baby’s or mother’s life is in mortal peril.

“While WHO states that cesarean delivery rates should be no higher than 10%, but the rates at Kashmir hospitals are as high as 80%.Research suggests that unnecessary cesareans are risky for both mother and child. Studies indicate that the chance of maternal mortality is 4-5 times more after an elective cesarean than a normal delivery,” the DAK report elucidates.

Over the years the media has been highlighting the phenomenal rise in C-section deliveries in Kashmir while the statement from DAK is just an endorsement of what people had been complaining of. Hailing from a premier doctor’s association, the statement should serve as an eye-opener for the society in general and medicos in particular. While successive regimes have failed to make doctors accountable, the rights groups are equally silent.