Patients blinded by faulty drug to be compensated

Patients blinded by faulty drug to be compensated

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

Doctors at the Minto Ophthalmic Hospital will ask the government to compensate the four patients who are at the risk of becoming blind after a cataract procedure went awry.

Twenty-four patients, who underwent cataract surgery at the state-run facility, last week, complained of blindness. While 20 of them recovered to the subsequent treatment to minimise the damage, four completely failed to respond and are still undergoing treatment.  

“All the four haven’t shown the desired response,” Minto Ophthalmic Hospital’s director Dr Sujatha Rathod B L said. “One of the patients already has diabetes and recovery will be tough in his case. We’ll ask the government to have the manufacturer (of the faulty drug administered to the patients) compensate for the losses.”

Doctors said eight of the 24 patients have shown good improvement. “The patients sign a form that mentions the risks in the procedure. Post-operative risk is one of them,” Dr Sujatha said, adding that the hospital has not seen an adverse reaction of this magnitude in surgery in its 123-year history.

“Our culture report has shown the presence of a foreign organism in the drug used, which has led to infection. If the patients fail to regain eyesight, we’ll push for the drug company (manufacturer) to compensate.”

Dr Sujatha also said doctors will conduct Vitrectomy on the patients to reach the posterior of the eye and clear away the pus formed due to the infection.  

Following suspicions that the drug has resulted in loss of sight, the blindness control division of Karnataka State Health and Family Welfare Society has asked hospitals to stop using Occugel 2% Ophthalmic Viscosurgical Device bearing batch no OUV190203.

It also asked hospitals to alert the health department if the batch has already been procured.