Manjawwa Mallesh Lambani (25), a resident of Basalikatte tanda of Ranebennur, is still cursing that fateful day two years ago when she went to the General Hospital in Ranebennur with a stomach ache and returned after undergoing a hysterectomy.

“The doctor told me my uterus was damaged and that I had to undergo a surgery immediately. While I was being admitted, he asked my mother to arrange money and come back,” she told The Hindu on Monday.

She not only had to shell out around Rs. 25,000 for the operation, but has been suffering various side-effects for the last two years. “I have developed severe weakness and constant low backache. My vision has blurred and I am unable to work,” she said.

She is one of the 18 women — all of whom underwent hysterectomies at the Renebennur General Hospital in the last two years — who came to meet the Health Minister K.R. Ramesh Kumar on Monday and demand action against the general surgeon, Shanta P., who, they claimed, performed all the surgeries. Although they waited outside the Vidhana Soudha the whole day, they were unable to meet the Minister.

“While the doctor tells us that he will not charge anything for the surgery, he prescribes medicines and consumables which are available only in Someshwara Medicals in Ranebennur. We have to buy these medicines — which cost nothing less than Rs. 20,000 — and give it to the doctor after which the surgery is done,” said Meerawwa Raju Lambani, another victim.

The women alleged that the medicines and consumables again are routed back to the medical store and money is shared between the doctor and medical store owner.

Accompanied by Akhila Vasan of Karnataka Janarogya Chaluvali and Shivaputra D. Mallad, a social worker from Ranebennur, the women also met Karnataka State Human Rights Commission Chairperson Meera Saxena and submitted a complaint. Jalaja Naik, chairman of Tanda Development Corporation, met them and assured them of taking up their cause.

Doctor suspended

Meanwhile, the Health Minister said doctor Shanta P. has been suspended with immediate effect.

“We have suspended the doctor after verifying the allegations. A probe will be conducted and the guilty will be dismissed from service,” Mr. Kumar said. He said, last week, Dr. Dayanand was suspended following a probe into a similar case in Birur.