Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: While conducting eye camps henceforth at the instance of government, the District Programme Officer concerned or local body, it should be ensured that eye operations are conducted only at reputed hospitals with a good track record. Necessary directions in this regard should be issued by the State Health Secretary for future guidance, the Madras High Court has said.

A Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and K.K. Sasidharan passed the interim order on a public interest litigation petition filed by the Human Rights Protection Centre, Tiruchirapalli, represented by its State coordinator S. Raju.

In the petition, filed through counsel S. Sathia Chandran, the petitioner sought a direction to the State Health Secretary to constitute a panel of expert eye surgeons for conducting cataract removal surgery on the other eye of victims who lost their vision in one eye in a free cataract removal camp conducted on July 29, 2008. The surgery was conducted by the Perambalur branch of Joseph Eye Hospital, Tiruchi.

The petitioner said the surgery should be conducted in the Ophthalmology Department of the Government Hospital at Villupuram immediately.

He also sought a direction to the authorities to pay a just and fair compensation to the 66 victims belonging to Nainarpalayam and Kadavanur villages, Villupuram district.

In its interim order, the Bench said the enquiry report by the District Collector, Perambalur, along with the opinion of the specialised team of doctors clearly showed that contaminated solution used during operation and air contamination at the operation theatre of the hospital were the reasons for the infection which caused blindness.

Directive to Health Secretary

The court directed the Health Secretary to constitute a team of ophthalmologists and other medical professionals for conducting the surgery in the other eye of the victims.

It should be conducted preferably at the Government Hospital, Villupuram, by April 5.

The matter has been posted for April 7 for reporting compliance by the State Health Secretary.