Private hospitals and nursing homes in India’s Bihar state are alleged to have wrongfully removed the uteruses of thousands of poor women to claim government insurance money. According to information gathered by the BBC, private doctors performed hysterectomies on at least 50,000 women in the past two years. Most of the surgeries were necessary, but authorities admit that many were unnecessary and that doctors sometimes claimed insurance when no surgery was performed.
The “uterus scam” came to light when special medical camps were organized to re-examine women who complained of bogus or unnecessary surgeries. In some cases women were told that they were undergoing hysterectomy but later found out that their uteruses were intact. The chairman of the state Human Rights Commission told the BBC, “Clearly, removing uteruses in this manner is a violation of an individual’s human rights.”