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Alleging Madhya Pradesh govt apathy, NGO report says, 19 patients who lost eye sight "refused" compensation

By Our Representative
Alleging official apathy, a follow-up of the independent investigation by Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Narmada Bachao Andolan and Swasthya Adhikar Manch into the patients losing their sights at the eye-surgery camp in Barwani in November 2015 has revealed that 19 patients have been mysteriously refused compensation announced by the Madhya Pradesh government.
The compensation was announced following the report of three NGOs’ investigation into the eye camp, jointly organized by Barwani District Hospital and Lion’s Club and held under a state-sponsored programme on November 16-24, 2015.
Following the NGOs’ report, released in Bhopal on December 15, 2015, the state government announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to 65 patients impacted by the surgery, along with a monthly pension of Rs 5000 for 65 patients, though a total of 86 patients suffered.
“As per the investigation and statements collected from these patients, at least 12 patients were found who have not got back expected vision in their eyes. Most of them cannot see too far, have water falling from their eyes and have hazy vision”, the new report says.
It adds, “Clearly they have not got their eye sight back and are suffering from problems even after almost two months since the surgery.”
“It is unknown based on what protocol they were not referred to Indore for treatment. Most of them have visited Barwani District Hospital and Sendhwa Hospital 6-10 times since their surgery and they are still running back and forth to these hospitals”, the NGOs’ updated report says.
“Our team located these patients in villages of Sendhwa, Pansemal and a few more Tehsils”, the report says, adding, it reached the conclusion on the basis of the state government-verified “full list and status of these patients.”
Pointing out that “carrying out bulk cataract operations through eye camps is a target based approach for blindness control” can be risky, the report say, “In the last 5 years, in the Indore-Ujjain division, a total of 88 people have lost their eye sights as per government data; the actual number may be higher than this.”
“Maintaining all service delivery norms around drugs, operation theatres, surgery process, post-op follow-ups etc. in bulk camps can be risky if all guidelines are not strictly adhered to”, the report says.
Pointing towards high-level indifference, the report says, the Indian Institution of Medical Sciences’ (AIIMS’), made a “hurried investigation” of the investigation on December 7.
Thereafter, on December 22, an investigation team comprising of Deputy Director, Health, Finance department and Dean, MGM Hospital, carried out another “hurried investigation.”
But its details have been “kept under cover”, the report states, insisting, “such investigations should be made time-bound”, adding, “The government should disclose the timeline by when the investigation will be completed and a date when the investigation report would be published and made available to the public.”
Providing instances of apathy which need to be highlighted, the report says, “as per guidelines, only glass bottles of Ringer Lactate/normal saline should be used… However, it is known that plastic bottles of solutions were used.”
“The guidelines mandate that pre-operative vision of the patient and the vision at the time of discharge should be taken and recorded on the discharge ticket. However, no discharge ticket is available at this point in time to validate whether this was followed or not”, the report says.
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Click HERE for the list of 19 patients left out

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