Nine Indian women have died after undergoing sterilisation surgery at a government-run camp in the central state of Chhattisgarh.
More than 50 others are in hospital, and at least 20 are in a critical condition.
Locals say more than 80 women were operated on in just six hours by one doctor and his assistant. Four health officials have been suspended.
One relative of a patient described the conditions. “There at the sterilisation camp they just operated on them and left them. It’s a desolate place, there are no facilities there.”
The cause of the death has not been confirmed but early investigations show it is likely to have been caused by infection and blood loss.
Ramesh Murty, a doctor now looking after the women said: “Their condition is very serious. Blood pressure is low, so keeping the circumstances in mind, we are now concentrating on treating them, not on what caused this. The reasons of death, we will only know after post-mortem, or if there is an investigation.”
The Indian government often pays women to be sterilised in a bid to slow population growth and health workers can receive money for each person they bring to a clinic.