No relief in sight for victims of Gurdaspur botched-up eye surgeries

  • Vishal Sally, Hindustan Times, Batala
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2015 11:02 IST

Nine months after they lost their eyesight following surgeries at an eye camp at Ghuman village, the victims are yet to get Rs 1 lakh compensation and a monthly pension of Rs 2,000.

The victims are left with no option to spend money from the own pocket for the treatment and make rounds of government offices to get relief.

Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had announced a grant of Rs 1 lakh and a pension of Rs 2,000 per month to 33 persons who lost their eyesight at the eye camp held between November 1 and 4, 2014.

Tersem Lal of Dera Baba Nanak, who lost his eyesight after a surgery in the camp, said with no government relief in sight, he had spent Rs 50,000 on his treatment. Narrating his woes, Lal said he was operated upon on November 4 and was discharged with other patients the same day. Feeling pain and irritation in his eyes, he approached Guru Nanak Multi-Specialty Hospital, where surgeries were conducted, after a few days but he was told that doctor who conducted the operations had left for Jalandhar and the hospital staff advised him to visit his private hospital.

"I completely lost my eyesight within a month after which I again went to the hospital where a team of state health department assured me of treatment and I was asked to visit the government hospital at Gurdaspur. Doctors at government hospitals in Amritsar and Gurdaspur asked me to visit PGIMER, Chandigarh, as the infection was increasing," he said.

"After spending more than Rs 50,000 on my treatment, I approached the deputy commissioner's office for compensation, where the officials asked me to bring all documents. Even after submitting the documents, I have not received a single penny from government," he added.

Gurdaspur deputy Commissioner Abhinav Trikha said there were only three patients who lost their eyesight or have been left partially blind. The district social security department had already approved their pensions, which will be released soon.

Cataract surgeries were performed on 153 patients during a free eye check-up camp organised by a non-governmental organisation based at Mathura in Uttar Pradesh between November 1 and November 4, 2014, leaving 33 persons partially blind.

After media reports, a case was registered against Jalandhar-based Dr Vivek Arora, who conducted the surgeries, NGO SKL Chikitsalaya, camp coordinator Manit Joshi and Guru Nanak Multi-Specialty Hospital. However, no action has been taken against them to date.

The Batala police are still waiting for a health department report while the health authorities claim they had sent the report to the police a month after the incident.

Batala senior superintendent of police Harpreet Singh said a special investigation team was constituted soon after the incident under superintendent of police (detective). The team is waiting for the medical report and action would be taken accordingly, he added.

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