Shocking: Doctors conduct cataract operation using torchlight in India

Cataract Operation in India
Cataract Operation in India Reuters

Ophthalmologists in India's Uttar Pradesh region recently grabbed headlines for conducting cataract operation during a power cut, using mere torchlight. The incident took place on December 25, where 30 patients were operated at the community health care centre (CHC) of Nawabganj, which is located in Unnao district, Uttar Pradesh.

Like other rural areas in India, Nawabganj also has electricity outrage issues. However, on Monday when the power went off in CHC, instead of stopping the procedure doctors continued with the cataract operation.

According to Times of India, the doctors of the NGO and the CHC authority had used a special torchlight to conduct the operation. As per reports, this a common way of conducting operations in remote villages of India where there are issues regarding electricity supply. Apparently, the doctors had brought the patients to the health centre.

On Tuesday morning, a group of doctors received complains regarding itchiness in the eye from patients whom they had operated the other day. Principal Secretary of health and family welfare, Prashant Trivedi said that an investigation will soon be conducted in order to thoroughly study the impact of the surgery.

"In the wake of various doubts raised in this case, a probe team was sent. We are also looking at the credentials of the NGO. What was the need to hold a camp and cataract operations in the evening?" said Trivedi.

India has a bright history when it comes to medicine and science. Sushruta, the ancient Indian physician is considered to be world's first surgeon and the father of surgery and ophthalmology for his contribution to the field of medicine. He practiced medicine in the 5th century. Most of his contributions to the field of ophthalmology led to similar discoveries in the Western world.

However, the existence of loopholes is evident. In the same country, a Singaporean woman, Alicia Medanin Khan, who came for liposuction surgery died on November 9, after the operation. She weighed 85kg and was admitted to S R Multi Speciality Hospital in Chennai situated in the south of India.

The UP government issued a transfer order for Unnao district's chief medical officer on Tuesday for proceeding with the risky cataract operation.

"This is the height of negligence. No one will be spared," said Ravi Kumar N, the district magistrate of Unnao, reports Hindustan Times.

This article was first published on December 27, 2017