What happened to our issue, ask surgery victims

Victims of the botched cataract surgeries staging a protest in front of Town Hall on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: G_P_Sampath Kumar

Victims of the botched cataract surgeries conducted at the State-run Minto Ophthalmic hospital on July 9 are upset that their demand for justice had been overshadowed by the resident doctors’ protest.

In fact, the whole controversy began with a demonstration by the victims, backed by Kannada activists, on November 1. It has been close to three months since the cataract surgeries adversely affected the vision of 24 patients, while some have lost vision completely.

However, after allegations of the activists manhandling the resident doctor now taking centre stage, it has now turned into a major protest by the doctors.

The impact of this is again on patients visiting these hospitals for treatment.

“We were agitating because despite repeated pleas, no one even spoke about compensation. The whole issue has been diverted now and our plight remains the same. The only solace is that at least the government has now announced some compensation,” said K. Bhaskar, whose wife Sujata T.K. underwent surgery and lost vision in one eye.

Panel conclusion

While a seven-member external experts’ committee, set up by the government to probe the cause of the botched surgeries, concluded that the adverse effects were due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, the patients have refused to accept this argument.

The report held the pharma company that produced the drug responsible for the adverse effects.

“I used to drive a school van before the surgery. After the surgery, I have lost complete vision in my right eye and the left is also getting affected. Who is to blame for this? The doctors, who are protesting now, should think about our plight instead of causing hardship to out-patients by their strike now,” said Mirza Azghar Ali, one of the victims.

Another victim, Rajanna, said, “I have to depend on my wife and daughter for everything now. I hope the protesting doctors realise why we and the Kannada activists were demonstrating that day.” Alleging that doctors had turned a “trivial issue” into a battle of egos, he said: “The only good thing is at least the government has announced some compensation, although it is a minor amount.”

Although the Minister announced the compensation recently — ₹3 lakh each for 10 patients — none of them have accepted the amount so far.

“While the vision of 22 of the 24 patients has been adversely affected, why is that only 10 have been chosen for the compensation. Not only should all of us be compensated but also the amount should be increased,” demanded Mr. Bhaskar.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 10:40:29 AM |

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