ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Towards Safer Surgeries and Vaccinations

Poor quality drugs and inadequate protocols are endangering people's lives in medical camps.

Charitable and camp-based medical services are generally viewed positively in the country against a background of weak and iniquitous public health access in several states. But there are serious weaknesses in the framework. The quality of drugs used and medical protocols followed in such events are often not satisfactory. These factors cause avoidable loss of life, disability and loss of productivity.

The recent episode of a large number of patients suffering vision loss after undergoing cataract surgery in Tamil Nadu is indicative of such systemic deficiencies. At least 50 people out of a group of 66 beneficiaries identified in Kaduvanur village complained of complications such as pain, vomiting and blurred vision after undergoing free surgery on July 29, at a satellite hospital in Perambalur. Some of these patients may have lost their vision completely. According to media reports, eight patients who complained of loss of vision had not made progress despite follow-up medical attention. The Press Trust of India reported on August 25, 2008 that the chief minister of Tamil Nadu had sanctioned a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to 20 people who lost their vision and six were medically certified as completely blind after the operation; a pension of Rs 400 would be given to those who were affected, and an enquiry by a government hospital dean was ordered to determine the cause.

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