45 Lost Their Vision After A Botched Surgery At A Camp In MP, And It’s Not The 1st Time

Posted on December 9, 2015 in Health and Life

By YKA Staff

A woman receives treatment at a free eye-care camp set-up by a voluntary organisation in the eastern Indian city of Siliguri June 14, 2009. According to a World Health Organisation report, 90 percent of the world's blind people live in developing countries with at least 9 million of them in India, where they are often the victims of poverty and lack of access to quality eye care. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri (INDIA SOCIETY HEALTH) - RTR24NO1
For representation only. Source: REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

The Madhya Pradesh government has shut down all eye camps, an annual affair in the state, until further orders according to reports after a botched cataract surgery in a district hospital in Badwani. Around 45 patients are reported to have lost vision in the eye camp organised between 16th and 23rd of November. The government has also offered a pension of Rs. 5,000 for the victims and set up a panel for a probe, which may lead to an FIR.

A similar case of negligence had emerged in Ambala earlier this month, where 15 patients had lost vision during eye operations at the Sarvakalyan Eye and Charitable Hospital. In March this year, 14 people had developed infection during cataract operations at Navjeewan Hosptial in Panipat in Haryana.

One is reminded here also of the sterilisation tragedy in Chhattisgarh where about a dozen women had died because guidelines had not been followed. A similar incident in Angul in Odisha, where a bicycle pump was used to dilate the cervix of women, had led to more stringent guidelines in the state according to reports. The state had decided to allow health camps only after permission was sought from authorities a month before the camp.

A villager undergoes an eye examination at a camp organised by Aravind Eye Care System in a village outside Madurai, in India's Tamil Nadu state March 3, 2010 to screen for eye problems which will then be treated at one of their hospitals. From a rented house with 11 beds in 1976, Aravind, whose mission is to eliminate needless blindness, has grown into a network of hospitals and clinics that provides eye examinations, surgery by keeping its costs extremely low and by subsidizing care for poor people through fees for paying customers and the sale of eye-care products. Picture taken March 3, 2010.  REUTERS/Reinhard Krause (INDIA - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY) - RTR2B9T5
Representation only. Source: REUTERS/Reinhard Krause

However, similar procedures do not seem to have been implemented or considered in other states, despite the sterilisation camp tragedy in Chhattisgarh grabbing the Prime Minister’s attention. What is more appalling about the incident in Madhya Pradesh is that the camp was organised by the authorities and is a regular affair. According to an Indian Express report, the result of the operations was brought to attention only after a report was submitted to the Indore-based Joint Director (Health) Sharad Pandit by the district’s chief medical and health officer. Although there have been suspensions following the incident, the authorities must seek to evolve a method to prevent any more mass scale cases of negligence like this. The loss of vision of 45 people does not speak of negligence but systemic failure and that needs to be addressed with changes in the system.