HC asks govt to compensate faulty eye-surgery victims

The Orissa high court on Tuesday directed the state government to pay compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh to persons who had lost their vision completely, and Rs 1.75 lakh to those who lost their eyesight partially after undergoing faulty cataract surgery at theDharamgarh Sub-Divisional Hospital in Kalahandi in September 2010.

A division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra directed the state government to pay the amount to the 16 victims at the earliest. It has also asked the government to conduct a probe into the incident by a secretary-rank officer.

The direction came in response to a PIL filed by human rights activist Prabir Das alleging that 16 persons had lost their eyesight after undergoing cataract operation at a free eye camp organized by a Sambalpur-based NGO, JMJ Grace vision, at the sub-divisional hospital. The petitioner had sought compensation for the victims who lost their eyesight due to alleged negligence of the authorities.

“The high court has provided justice to the poor victims who lost their eyesight,” said petitioner Prabir Das.

The bench also said that if the probe finds the NGO responsible for the defective surgery, the entire compensation amount would be recovered from it. Along with it, the court has also fixed certain guidelines to be followed before organizing such cataract surgery camps in the state. The bench has stated that the organizations adequately equipped with proper infrastructure and efficient doctors should only be allowed to conduct cataract surgery camps. The bench has directed the state government to monitor the pre and post operative care of the patients.

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