Cataract surgeries in torchlight: NHRC issues notice to UP govt
The human rights body has sought details of the case from the UP chief secretary Rajive Kumar.lucknow Updated: Dec 28, 2017 09:17 IST
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government in connection with the cataract surgeries performed on 32 patients in torchlight at a primary health centre in Unnao district’s Nawabganj.
The incident had prompted the authorities to transfer the chief medical officer (CMO) Rajendra Prasad and suspend PHC superintendent Dr Dinesh Dass for negligence and violation of norms. A magisterial inquiry is also underway.
Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter, the NHRC issued a notice to UP chief secretary Rajive Kumar asking the government to provide the details of the case.
The NHRC said the incident showed negligence on the part of the doctors and the dismal state of facilities at government hospitals.
Meanwhile, people associated with Jagdamba Seva Samiti, the NGO that brought the patients to the healthcare centre, took away the register and other details of the patients, impeding the investigation.
“Members of the NGO have deliberately taken away the registers to stall the probe. We are following the leads,” said a senior official.
The surgeries were performed by Dr Nutan Saxena and two others.
After the procedure, the patients were made to lie on the floor for more than six hours in cold conditions and were provided blankets and mattresses only after the district magistrate rushed a team of medical officers to Nawabganj, sources said.
Senior officials said the inquiry which was to conclude in 24 hours would take another 48 hours.
Officials said certain leads had been found about the identity of the patients and teams were being sent to their villages. The district authorities also recorded statements of health officials and others.
There is an acute shortage of ophthalmologists in Uttar Pradesh, and to bridge the gap, the state government has entered into a contract with NGOs.
For Monday’s surgeries, the NGO was to be paid Rs 1,000 per patient, officials said.
Meanwhile, the Provincial Medical Services Association (PMSA) has condemned action against doctors and said the probe would establish who was at fault.
General secretary of PMSA, Dr Amit Singh said the NGO’s role should be investigated.
Additional general secretary of PMSA, Dr AK Tripathi, who is deputed in Unnao, said: “The role of the NGO is suspicious but the final picture will be clear once the investigation is over. Doctors have been suspended to ensure transparency in the probe. It is a normal procedure.”