Sandalwood superstar Puneeth Rajkumar, who died last week, is now living through four people in what has become an unusual story. The 46-year-old thespian has passed away at a Bengaluru hospital on October 29 due to cardiac arrest. The sudden demise has stunned the fans across and beyond Karnataka and he was laid to rest on Sunday with full state honours in the presence of his family members, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, political leaders, and thousands of his fans.
However, he was laid to rest after his eyes were donated. The Rajkumar family is known for making eye donations and the legendary actor Rajkumar had donated his eyes, after his demise in 2006, while his wife Parvathamma donated her eyes in 2017. Now, their younger son Puneeth Rajkumar had become the third member of his family to donate his eyes and the actor had followed his father's footsteps.
According to reports, Puneeth's father Rajkumar had made a pledge to donate his eyes in Bengaluru during the inauguration of the Narayana Nethralaya in 1994. Rajkumar had inspired many to donate their eyes after their death and his sons - Shiva Rajkumar and Puneeth Rajkumar had pledged to donate their eyes after their demise. Legendary actor Rajkumar had believed that sight is precious and that there is no point in burying or burning healthy eyes that can be used to help someone else.
As Puneeth had made a similar pledge, his eyes were donated after he breathed his last on Friday in Bengaluru. Though he is no more, he still lives through his eyes, which are now giving the vision for four people. His eyes were collected by Narayana Nethralaya and the reports say that each eye of the deceased actor was used to treat two patients, which has become an unprecedented fashion.
The superior and deeper layers of the cornea were separated and the superior layer was transplanted to two patients who had a superficial corneal disease and the deeper layer was transplanted to two other patients who were suffering from endothelial or deep corneal layer disease. These four patients - three males and one female had undergone eye transplant surgery in the last two days at Narayana Nethralaya.
The transplant surgery was done by a team of five doctors and the chairman of the hospital has said that all four patients were between 20-30 years of age. They were on the waiting list for over six months as eye donations were halted in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The chairman said to a news agency, "Usually, two corneas from a deceased individual are transplanted into two corneal blind patients. But, we used Puneeth's corneal tissues to restore vision for four different patients."