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Eyesight lost, it’s time for probe

Cuttack, April 12: An inquiry has started into an alleged loss of eyesight of the people who lost their eyesight in a mass operation camp.

Sixteen persons, who had undergone surgery during the mass operation drive at the government hospital in Dharamgarh, have allegedly lost their eyesight becuase of medical negligence.

The Orissa State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA) is coordinating the inquiry to ascertain the veracity of allegations that the 16 persons had lost their eyesight because of doctors’ negligence during the mass cataract operation drive.

Bijay Chandra Rath, member secretary of the OSLSA, today told The Telegraph that the probe process is already moving at a fast pace.

“An inquiry into the incident is being conducted by the district judge of Kalahandi. Recording of statements and medical examination of all the 16 persons is underway,” he said, adding, “Submission of a detailed report in the court would follow before April 18, the date fixed for further hearing on a PIL on the issue.”

Advocate and human rights activist Prabir Kumar Das had filed a letter petition in high court alleging that 16 persons had lost their eyesight because of negligence of doctors and indifference of authorities at a mass operation camp organised at the government hospital in Dharamgarh during September 9 to 23, 2010. At the camp, around 1,210 persons were operated.

Taking note of it, on April 6, the high court had converted it into a PIL. “Having regard to the nature of seriousness of the post-operational complicacies suffered by the 16 patients who had undergone such cataract operation in the aforesaid health camp, we direct the registry to register the petition as a PIL,” two-judge bench of chief justice V. Gopal Gowda and Justice B.N. Mohapatra had ordered.

While directing the OSLSA member secretary to coordinate an inquiry by the president of the District Legal Services Authority, Kalahandi, and submit a report, the court had issued notices to the commissioner-cum-secretary of health and family welfare, the director of health services and the chief district medical officer, Kalahandi. The court had also fixed April 18 for further hearing on the PIL, expecting them to file their respective responses by then.

According to the petition, the 16 persons who had lost their eyesight during thecataract operation were Bilasa Keuta, Sukam Majhi, Manohar Bag, S. Majhi, Basanti Lahajala, Debaki Sipka, Gomati Bihari, Tarpan Bihari, Jaladhar Mali, Arjun Naik, Basumati Anumati, Gura Majhi, Malati Bhati, Noor Bewa, Chitta Bag and Rabi Charan.

The court had also issued directions for the CDMO, Kalahandi, “to refer the patients who have undergone such operation in the said camp and suffering post-operation complicacies to M.K.C.G. Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur for treatment.”

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