Cornered over the botched up cataract operations in Badwani, the Madhya Pradesh government Tuesday stopped all eye camps till further orders and announced a lifelong pension of Rs 5,000 for those who had lost vision.
At least 45 out of 90 patients who attended the camp at the Badwani district hospital between November 16 and 23 ended up losing vision in one eye. It was only after two weeks that the damage done at the camp came to light.
The government also announced setting up of a high-level panel, which will be headed by Additional Chief Secretary (Finance), to probe the incident. Other members on the panel will be the Dean, Government MGM Medical College, Indore and an expert from AIIMS, Bhopal. The team will look into the drugs used, the facilities available at the hospital, and try to find out what went wrong before and after the operations. About 5 lakh people benefit from such camps every year in the state.
“Based on the probe findings an FIR will be registered against the guilty,’’ said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan while replying to a debate on the adjournment motion on the issue.
On Monday, Chouhan had suspended the civil surgeon and announced a relief of Rs 2 lakh for each victim.
“We will try to do to everything to improve their vision,’’ Chouhan told the House on Tuesday.
Moving the adjournment motion, Congress MLA Ramniwas Rawat alleged that patients lost vision due to drugs administered before and after the surgery. Later, Opposition MLAs sought Health Minister Narottam Mishra’s resignation alleging that the suspension of eye specialist Dr RS Palod, who has carried out 30,000 surgeries before, was an attempt to divert attention from spurious drugs and equipment. They also claimed that the company that supplied the drugs used at the Badwani camp had been blacklisted in the past. The minister, however, said the company had not been blacklisted.
As the health minister stood up to reply to the debate, the Congress MLAs staged a walkout demanding a response from the chief minister, alleging that Mishra himself was guilty.
Responding to the demand for his resignation after the CM’s brief statement, Mishra questioned why former CM Arjun Singh or his ministers had not resigned in the wake of the Bhopal gas tragedy. “Instead, you allowed Warren Anderson to escape,’’ he said.