What do you think binds most students of the Mootapally Zilla Parishad school in the Karimnagar district of Telangana? It’s surprisingly not a common interest in sports or any particular subject but their tender scarred tummies.
Identical scars can be seen on most kids’ stomachs. And for that, they have to thank two medicos -Dr. Thattipamula Suresh and Dr. Manoj- who simply tossed medical ethics out of the window along with the Hippocrates’ oath that doctors swear by on graduation.
Whenever any kid would complain of a stomach ache, he or she would by default get referred to these two surgeons who would then subject these children to surgery in the name of appendicitis.
The frightened kids and their families naturally had no choice but to cough up Rs. 20k to 25k for the expenses incurred. That there was neither further medical investigation done before such an operation nor the presence of a qualified anaesthetist at the operating table seem to have been lost on these innocent souls.
It was always Dr. Suresh who first examined the unsuspecting patient before being referred to Dr. Manoj’s clinic for the impending surgeries. They doubled up as the in-house anaesthetists too.
They were reportedly hand in glove with a few local practitioners who would refer anyone with a tummy ache to the said duo by pretending it to be a case of appendicitis or any such medical emergency. The duo are said to have charged Rs.20,000 to Rs.25,000 per surgery.
Speaking to The News Minute, Ramachandran -the 40-year old headmaster of the school- says: “I joined here in July 2015. It was last August that one of the teachers spoke to me about how most of the students had to undergo surgeries. I then decided to conduct a medical camp which didn’t take place due to some reasons. It was not just our school kids alone. I have heard that even some of the ladies in the village were operated on for hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). There are 90 students in our high school, of which 33 were operated on in the past four years. After the local media got wind of it, the police swung into action and an investigation was launched into the same.”
The village sarpanch -34-year-old Jala Mootapally- expressed shock on learning about this medical malpractice. She told The News Minute that it was the local Sub-Inspector (SI) who apprised the village authorities of the same and that the Raikal district medical officer had then visited the village to conduct further enquiry into the matter.
It was earlier this week that Suresh and Manoj were arrested along with a couple of local Registered Medical Practitioners (RMP) who were part of this surgical scam.
When TNM spoke to the Karimnagar Superintendent of Police -Joel Davis-, he had this to say: “We have registered criminal cases against these two as well as a couple of RMPs who worked in tacit understanding with them. Suresh and Manoj were doing good business in Jagtiyal which prompted them to start another clinic –one which was not even registered- in Korutala. Suresh has reportedly done more than 500 surgeries. It was the Katlapur SI who had informed me some time back that such surgeries were routine in quite a few mandals namely Kattalapur Mandal, Raikal and Medimally of Karimnagar district’’.
After their arrest, the duo has apparently confessed that they were doing it for money. It has also been reported that their anaesthesia procedures had triggered further health problems in their patients.
“Such incidents happen as people are ignorant and unaware of such matters. We hence plan to conduct awareness programmes so as to prevent them from falling into similar traps in the future,” Davis reiterated.