16 lose eyesight in botched up surgery

16 lose eyesight in botched up surgery

Close on the heels of the recent case of medical negligence in Chhattisgarh, at least 16 people have lost eyesight after they were operated at an eye camp in a village in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. Their eyes have been permanently damaged. 

About 60 eye surgeries, mainly for cataract removal, were carried out by private doctors at the camp held about a week ago by an NGO. All 16 patients are senior citizens from Ajnala in Amritsar district.

Talking to Deccan Herald, Amritsar Deputy Commissioner (DC) Ravi Bhagat said: “A probe has been ordered and a report is likely to be submitted tomorrow (Friday). These patients have been admitted to the civil hospital at Amritsar. Doctors are working frantically to see if there is a change of revival of eyesight.”

The incident came to light after patients approached the DC seeking justice on Thursday. The eye camp for cataract treatment was organised by Guru Nanak Charitable Mission in Ghuman.

Sources said the number of patients who have been rendered blind could be even higher given that there is a possibility of patients from other areas having met with a similar fate, but are yet to come forward with their misery. 

Bhagat said the probe will look into various aspects, including negligence on part of the eye surgeons and also the role of the NGO. The DC pointed at flouting of several norms before the camp was organised.

“A permission from the local administration and the civil surgeon is mandatory before any such camp is to be organised. No such permission was availed,” Bhagat told Deccan Herald.

Civil Surgeon Amritsar, Dr Rajiv Bhalla, said that while chances of revival of eyesight is bleak, efforts are on to minimise the loss. The patients and their kin have demanded that a criminal case be registered against the NGO and the doctors. Official sources said a case will be registered after the outcome of the final report.

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