Four at risk of losing sight after cataract surgery

Four at risk of losing sight after cataract surgery

Minto Ophthalmic Hospital in Bengaluru. DH PHOTO/S K Dinesh

The presence of a foreign organism in the drug administered during cataract surgery has caused possible blindness to at least four patients who underwent the procedure at the Minto Ophthalmic Hospital.

Out of the 24 patients who underwent the surgery last week, four patients have not responded to the treatment to minimise the damage, according to doctors.

On July 8, 24 patients, three of them picked up from camps, were admitted to undergo cataract surgery.

Minto Ophthalmic Hospital director Dr Sujatha Rathod B L said, as is the protocol, patients were not be discharged until the bandages were off.

The following day, when the doctors visited the patients in the post-operative ward, the results weren’t as expected.

“All said they had not regained vision. The patients’ sight wasn’t restored after the surgery. It was shocking. As I was on leave, the officer in charge Dr Dakshayini was informed,” said Dr Rathod.

Immediate treatment to prevent loss of vision and stop adverse reactions was started thereafter.

While 20 of them recovered, four have not shown signs of recovery.

“At this stage, it is uncertain whether they would regain vision. While most others have been discharged, these patients have not responded to the treatment as desired. Our efforts will continue,” she said.

Faulty drugs?

The patients were administered an ophthalmic gel. According to doctors, this may have caused the reaction. “All standard protocols were ensured. On suspicion, we got the culture report for the gel done. We found the presence of the organism, Pseudomonas in the sample,” said Dr Rathod.

Although the same drug was used the following day on patients, no adverse reaction was seen. Doctors said the problem existed only in the particular batch used on Tuesday.

“We open the medicine only when the patient is in the operation theatre. Chances of contamination in the hospital are nil,” Dr Rathod added. The medicines were procured from a private firm through the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute. The drug distributor has been summoned to the hospital. A complaint has been lodged at the office of the drug controller.

Medical Education Department director Dr P G Girish said action will be taken against the manufacturer and distributor of the product. “We will conduct a detailed enquiry,” he said.