Monday, August 21, 2017
Blind ex-doctor uncovers daily abuse with hidden camera

Blind ex-doctor uncovers daily abuse with hidden camera

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Amit Patel and his dog Kika used a hidden camera to spot abuse - PIC: Pete Summers/SWNS

A blind former doctor has strapped a camera to his guide dog to capture the abuse he receives from commuters at rush hour in London.

Amit Patel, who lost his sight three years ago, says he is constantly barged and pushed out of the way as he navigates the trains and buses.

The 37-year-old says other travellers step over guide dog Kika and even hit her with umbrellas to get her to move out of the way on escalators.

A former A&E doctor, Mr Patel is ignored by train station staff and has even been told to apologise for getting in the way.

The father-of-one decided to attach a GoPro camera to Kika’s back to record his ordeal, which his wife Seema reviews at the end of the day.

Mr Patel said: “It all started when people barged me out of the way, they hit [Kika] with umbrellas, bags – I get shoulder-charged every day and when my wife looks back at the footage she can see they have done it deliberately.

“They have loads of space to get past but they seem to think it is fun to barge into a blind person.

“The worst part is the tutting and negative comments behind me. People are so rude and arrogant and assume they can do whatever they want.”

He added: “Sometimes I wonder who is the blind person when there are people glued to their mobile phones.”

Mr Patel travels nearly every day on the train network, often using Southeastern trains to go to London Bridge, then the Northern and Jubilee tube lines for onward journeys.

But he says he has been ignored by train staff when he is in unfamiliar surroundings.

He added: “I started to record it to show what I go through every day. Sometimes the only way I get a seat is to scratch Kika behind the ears so she shakes a little – no one likes a wet dog.

“There are taxi drivers who will see you and won’t stop, sometimes train staff will say they didn’t see me when they clearly did.

“Losing my sight is very lonely, if I’m travelling by public transport I’m sometimes like a scared little boy sat in the corner.”

Mr Patel lost his sight three years ago after undergoing six cornea transplants in Britain and two in the US to correct a simple condition called keratoconus, when he was in his early 20s.

He discovered he suffered from the condition, which changes the shape of the cornea, during his final year of medical school.

After seeming to correct his blurry vision for around nine months, each transplant began to be rejected by his body.

The former University College Hospital doctor said: “I’ve lost the sight completely in my right eye and my left has nearly gone, it has floaters all around it – it’s like a lava lamp.

“It causes me so much pain, it feels like someone is rubbing chilli in my eyes.

“People assume that if you lose your sight that’s it, there’s no pain, but it’s excruciating.”

Mr Patel now volunteers for the Royal National Institute for the Blind, Action for Blind People and Guide Dogs for the Blind to help coach new guide dog users.

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Blind ex-doctor uncovers daily abuse with hidden camera