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Pay Rs 1 lakh to 66 for botched eye surgery: HC

Three years ago, 66 villagers from Villupuram lost their vision after attending a free cataract surgery camp.

The New Indian Express |

Updated:November 16, 2011, 8:24 AM IST
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Pay Rs 1 lakh to 66 for botched eye surgery: HC
Three years ago, 66 villagers from Villupuram lost their vision after attending a free cataract surgery camp.

CHENNAI: Three years after 66 villagers from Villupuram lost their vision after attending a free cataract surgery camp, held at the Perambalur unit of Tiruchy-based Joseph Eye Hospital, the Madras High Court has directed the hospital, to pay an interim compensation of Rs 1 lakh to each of the villagers. A ‘just and reasonable’ compensation was yet to be decided and this amount is to be paid by the hospital in addition to the Rs 1 lakh paid by the government.

The incident that occurred on September 28, 2008 rendered all 66 villagers from Kaduvanur and neighbouring villages without sight, and it is believed that the administration of contaminated eye drops during the cataract surgery was to blame. Pending the final decision, the hospital should pay up within two months, said the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam. The victims should be identified by the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Tiruchy, the bench said and made it clear that for the persons who had already died, the amount should be paid to their legal heirs, preferably the widows.

It was reported that five of the patients had subsequently died and one person was missing. The matter will be taken up after eight weeks.

Earlier, in its report, the CBI had said that a chargesheet had been filed against seven persons connected to the hospital and the matter was pending before the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Tiruchy. The bench directed the CJM to take up the matter and proceed in accordance with law.

Last week, the High Court had refused to quash an order of the State government debarring the Hospital from conducting screening camps and doing cataract surgeries under the National Programme for Control of Blindness in all the districts in Tamil Nadu.

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