At least 20 people who underwent cataract surgeries at a private hospital in Perambalur, about 250 km south of Chennai, are now virtually confirmed to have lost their vision.
Sixty-eight villagers from Kaduvanur in Villupuram district had been referred to the privately run Joseph Eye Hospital in Perambalur for cataract surgeries at a free eye camp held under the auspices of the District Blindness Prevention Society.
However, 29 of them developed serious post-surgical complications, including loss of vision and were referred to the voluntary body’s headquarters hospital, 75 km from Perambalur.
After further treatment, nine patients regained their vision, official sources said on Monday. However, for the remaining 20 patients, getting back their vision “is doubtful”, Perambalur District Collector, Anil Meshram, told Hindustan Times over telephone on Monday.
The report of the medical probe ordered by him was expected by Wednesday, he said. While it is suspected that medicines supplied for the eye treatment were contaminated, the district collector declined comment saying he was waiting the official report. A probe team has seized medicine samples for testing, he said.
The Tamil Nadu government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the 20 patients. Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said those who had lost their vision would also be given a monthly pension of Rs 400 each, adding that the state government would order a probe into the tragedy.