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Steps to follow for sterilisation

Image: 123RF/Lucian Coman

There has been a big outcry over forced sterilisation of women in public hospitals. As a retired theatre nurse, I can explain a few things.

Doctors and nurses have a duty and responsibility to empower patients by educating them on health matters to enable them to make informed decisions about their health, and that includes among others, family planning.

In education, there is something called, "the teachable moment". Signing consent by a patient who is booked for a Caesarian section because of possible complications during a normal delivery, presents such a moment. So, it is the practice the world over, whether you are in public or private healthcare, to inform the patient about why the C-section is necessary and if the patient has more than three children, find out if she would like to opt for sterilisation or not. If she wants to be sterilised, she must sign a consent form.

In theatre, when the operation is in progress, the doctors will always find out from a nurse if the patient has signed for sterilisation. This is very important; doctors have been sued for failing to sterilise a patient when this had been requested by the patient.

Those patients who seek sterilisation after a normal delivery, they are given a date on which to come back for a less invasive tubal ligation.

Removal of a uterus without the patient's consent is only done in dire life-threatening emergencies.

Cometh Makholwa,Midrand

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