The Madhya Pradesh government has suspended a top medical officer following the loss of vision of 11 patients who underwent free cataract surgery at a private hospital in Indore on August 8. Two other officials have been given show cause notices.
According to reports, 14 patients, mostly from the Dhar and Indore districts of Madhya Pradesh underwent cataract surgeries at Indore Eye Hospital at a camp under the National Program for Control of Blindness (NPCB) on August 8. Eleven of them, aged between 50 and 85 years, started complaining of swelling, irritation and loss of eyesight since August 9.
Dr TS Hora, the nodal officer in Indore for the NPCB has been suspended after it was found that he knew about the cases but did not take any action.
Dr Pravin Jadiya, the Indore district Chief Medical Health Officer (CMHO), came to know of the development on August 13, but did not communicate it to the district and divisional administrative officials, the ongoing probe into the matter revealed. He and the Dhar district CMHO have been given show cause notices.
"The priority at that point of time was the best possible treatment of the patients, which had already been begun in consultation with specialists from MGM Medical College Indore," Pravin Jadiya said, while admitting that he failed to inform the local administration.
The seven member committee comprising Indore divisional commissioner and district collector, besides medical experts has been directed to complete the probe and submit its report in 72 hours.
"It's a serious lapse, which will surely attract strict action," Madhya Pradesh Health Minister Tulsi Silawat said. The Madhya Pradesh government cancelled the license of the Indore Eye Hospital on Saturday.
Meanwhile, a war of words between BJP and ruling Congress has begun over the development. Former Chief Minister and BJP National Vice President Shivraj Singh Chouhan tweeted on Sunday, "the matter having been concealed by senior officials for five long days is a major lapse. Is the Kamal Nath government doing a favour to the patients by announcing compensation of Rs 50,000 each. We demand Rs 12,000 monthly pension from the state government for all 11 patients."
Responding to Mr Chouhan's tweet, Congress Spokesperson Narendra Saluja tweeted, "the state government is serious about the vision loss of the 11 patients and none of those guilty will be spared. Before making any such statement, you (Chouhan) should also remember that no action was taken by your government against those responsible for botched cataract surgeries which led to vision loss of 60-odd patients at Barwani District Hospital in 2015. Stop playing politics over the sensitive issue."
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