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Statement of Sra. Avelina Sanchez Nolberto

Congressional Briefing
February 23, 1998

As a poor mother of five under age children and separated from my husband who also lives in the city of Andahuaylas, I wash clothes to support myself and the children. During my work activities I got to know an obstetrician who works in the Social Security hospital of Ayacucho. I confided in her about the problems I had run into with my husband. Then she spoke to me about tubal ligation and, of course, I was against it, but after so many demands she convinced me, adding that my husband could come back at any moment and would once again fill me with children.

So on the 16th of October 1996 a worker, the sister of the obstetrician, arrived at my house telling me that it was free and I should take advantage of the opportunity since specialists from the Social Security hospital in Lima had arrived. I resisted saying that I had to go to the market to cook lunch for my small children who were studying in school. I went to the market and stayed a long time. Upon my return I found her outside my house and she intercepted me saying that I was already scheduled for a ligation and that they would take me by taxi. That is how I arrived at the hospital practically against my will without any of my girls going in with me. This lady took charge of all the business in the hospital. This was the way I had the surgical intervention of a tubal ligation.

After the operation I was not able to recover. My stomach swelled and I had the sensation that all my intestines were burning. I could not expel intestinal gas. It was three in the afternoon on October 17th 1996. Then I began to worry because I entered the hospital totally healthy. When I went to the obstetrician to complain about my state of affairs, she became very insolent and said that she had nothing to do with this, and she had the audacity to tell me, “Don’t be bothering me, as if I had dragged you in.” After that, my children came searching for me desperately when they did not find me home. They found me in the hospital and that is how I left still very sick.

In the night of October 17th 1996 I had terribly strong colic and my entire stomach swelled with a terrible burning sensation that I could not stand. So when I woke up my oldest daughter took me back to the Social Security hospital were they intervened on me again on October 18th 1996. When my family started to inquire about my health status, what was the problem I really had?, no one could tell them anything concrete. When I was supposed to be asleep I heard the nurses whispering among themselves that when they operated to do the ligation they had cut my intestines. I was not able to recuperate so they tried again on November 10th 1996, but my condition kept deteriorating so they decided to send me on November 15th 1996 to the Social Security hospital of Lima at my daughter’s insistence. There they did a complete cleaning of my intestines because a greenish liquid had formed and the doctor told me that I had septicemia. I left there on December 12th 1996 returning to my city without medicines to continue my treatment. The doctors treating me refused to give me medicines when I asked because I have no insurance.

From that time I have not been able to recover, and given my precarious financial situation, I had to return to my husband so that he could look after the children. I still cannot go back to work like before. Relapsing again, I went to the hospital Maria Auxiliadora de San Juan de Miraflores in Lima on November 4th 1997. I stayed there to be treated for what the doctor said was a perforated intestine. This was very expensive and I owe the hospital but do not have the ability to pay them back or to continue my treatment because of the expensive medicines needed. I am desperate from this situation. I cannot work to support my younger children. My oldest daughter, 20 years old, is studying and doing domestic work and is supporting me as much as she can. Now I am staying in the house where she works and the lady here has very kindly agreed to to receive me with my young girls of 7 and 11 years old, and I have been given a great deal of help to recuperate.

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