With 13 more infection cases admitted to the eye ward of the Amritsar medical college on Saturday, the number of those who were severely infected and lost vision after being operated upon at a medical camp at Ghuman in Gurdaspur district reached 33.
Confirming this, associate professor Dr Karamjit Singh said, "Till Friday, 20 patients were admitted and now 13 more have reported. Of these cases, six patients have chances of recovery but they do face severe infection."
The health department had organised a camp at Ajnala following which the toll of patients being referred to Amritsar increased. A three-member team of the PGI reached the hospital on Friday night and examined the patients. The experts were satisfied with the treatment being given to them. They have also said that there is no immediate need to shift any patient.
Minister assures help
Even as the number of such patients continued to grow, health minister Surjit Jyani, while visiting the hospital on Saturday, insisted there were only 20 such cases and efforts were on to provide best treatment to them.
When apprised of the new cases, he said, "If we are agreeing on 20 patients, we can also agree on more. Let me first get the complete report and verify if the new patients got operated upon at the same camp." The minister said they would get the record verified from Ghuman. However, the Batala police probing the matter have said that no record was found in the hospital.
Jyani, who met the patients, said, "The problem arose among the 49 patients operated upon on the last day of the camp. We are taking this seriously and I assure all help to the patients. The police are on the job and the guilty will face action."
The minister said a probe was on and nobody would be allowed to hold medical camps without permission.
Ward gets packed
With new patients reporting, the eye ward was packed to capacity on Saturday morning as one could see even two patients occupying a single bed. The new patients had to sit in the corridor for long before being shifted to another room.
Dr Karamjit Singh said, "There is no shortage of space as we have opened another ward to accommodate the patients. All possible help will be provided to the patients. However, in majority of the cases, the chances of recovery are grim."