The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has recommended that the Government of Chhattisgarh pay Rs.50000 each to the 16 patients in addition to a similar amount paid by the state government to them on losing their eyesight in cataract surgery at the community health centre in Bagbehra in Dhamtari district.
The state's chief secretary has been asked to submit a compliance report along with proof of payment within eight weeks, besides a status report on the disciplinary proceedings initiated against the three doctors who did the surgery on the patients. The commission has observed that the report from the state government accepted that sub-standard medicines had been administered to the patients. Therefore, it asked the state government to conduct a detailed enquiry in this regard and initiate criminal action to prosecute the guilty persons.
The commission took cognizance of the issue on December 31, 2012 on the basis of a media report, wherein it was reported that 15 patients had lost their eyesight due to the negligence of the doctors while carrying out cataract surgery in a camp at Bagbehra. In response to the notices of the commission, the Government of Chhattisgarh, through its Health and Family Welfare Department confirmed that 16 patients had lost their eyesight. Each of them was paid Rs.50,000 from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund.
One surgeon, two eye assistant officers and two nurses have been suspended for negligence and departmental proceedings were initiated against them. Five medicines used during the operation were found to be below standard. Therefore, suppliers and manufacturers of these medicines were banned from supplying their items to the government.
The commission held that monetary relief given by the state government was inadequate. Therefore, it recommended an additional amount of Rs.50000 to each of the victims.