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30 Sep 2020, Edition - 1905, Wednesday

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Coimbatore

Fact Check: Did the victims of Mettupalayam wall collapse donate their eyes?

Neya Tabitha

Even as it has been widely reported across media outlets that the father who lost his children in the wall collapse at Nadur village in Mettupalayam donated the eyes of his children, the hospital has denied harvesting the organ for donation.

The alleged discriminatory wall in Mettupalayam which collapsed claiming seventeen lives, left Selvaraj 53, father of victims, Nivedha 18 and Ramanathan 15, orphaned and he decided to donate his children’s eyes.

Selvaraj had stayed back in Jadayampalayam Pudur as it was raining that night (01.12.2019). He halted at the tea stall where he worked and since the children were with their aunt, Sivagami (45) ever since their mother died in a similar incident, seven years ago, he slept at the tea shop that fateful night, thinking they were safe.

He had been raising his children with the support of his wife’s family. Little did he know that his children would be facing the same fate as their mother the next morning.

The girl was doing her first year in B Com CA in Government Arts College and her brother was doing his tenth standard in the Government School in Mettupalayam.

On 02.12.2019, after the accident, he was approached by a team from Aravind Eye Hospital, seeking consent to donate their eyes at the Mettupalayam Government hospital.

He immediately agreed and signed the form. Ill be happy if their organs are of some use otherwise they’d just decay and be of no use, he said.

Unfortunately the donation did not take place because the issue had turned sensational. The protests had delayed the handing over of the body thus making it unsuitable to harvest.

Since it was a sensitive issue, the reaction from the public could have turned adverse, said a nurse from the Hospital, who wished to remain anonymous.

The tissue remains viable only for six hours, and it had crossed its viable period, so the cornea could not be harvested, said Dr. Seralathan, the Medical Officer at the Mettupalayam Government Hospital.

The procedure could not be done till the settlement on the solatium took place. Moreover, a cornea can be harvested only if it is healthy and since the debris from the collapse had compromised its healthy state, it was not possible to carry out the procedure, he added.

Dr. Jayasingh from Coimbatore Medical College was also asked to test its viability and it had turned out negative.

The collapse of the alleged wall of discrimination in Mettupalayam had not only devoured 17 lives but had also rendered useless their organs.

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