Botched surgery victims referred to private clinics

Police last week booked Minto Ophthalmic Hospital doctors after five patients who underwent cataract surgeries almost lost their eyesight. (DH Photo/Irshad Mahammad)

Following the botched cataract surgeries at Minto Ophthalmic Hospital, three patients are undergoing treatment at Shankara Nethralaya and Narayana Nethralaya.

Most of the 24 patients who had cataract surgeries at Minto Ophthalmic Hospital earlier this month complained that they did not regain eyesight. The condition of five has been regarded serious since they had nearly no vision.

Doctors said the patients had a severe infection due to contamination of the Occugel used during the surgery.

“We bear all the expenses of the patients,” Dr Sujatha Rathod, Director, Minto Ophthalmic Hospital, said.

“Getting checked by doctors from other hospitals will also give them confidence. Since Minto does not have Keratoprosthesis Vitrectomy, we referred them elsewhere.”

She said the hospital had sent sealed vials of the drug from the same batch used during the procedure for lab test.

“We’ve obtained a culture report from nine laboratories, both government and private. All of them have shown the presence of foreign organisms that caused the infection,” Dr Sujatha said.

She said 420 vials of the same batch had been distributed. “When we asked the distributor, he said the same batch had been sent to Kuppam medical College. We called to alert them to immediately suspend the use of the drug, but they said they didn’t receive the stock,” Dr Sujatha said.

The distributor allegedly told the hospital that a batch of the drug was also sent to Cambodia. “We tried reaching the distributor after the reports but he remains incommunicado,” she said.

When DH tried calling the distributor, the number did not connect. The hospital also lodged a complaint with the VV Puram police.

Surgeries stopped

Meanwhile, the hospital has stopped surgeries as it awaits the report on the sterilisation of the operation theatre. Several patients needing surgery have been put on a long wait.

On average, the hospital performs 50 cataract surgeries a day. “Only if the case is serious do we refer the patient to the Bowring Hospital,” Dr Sujatha said.

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