Again, Guru Nanak Eye Centre shuts down OT

It's the 3rd time since May over bacterial infection scare

The Guru Nanak Eye Centre was forced to shut down its operation theatre for the third time since May after cases of bacterial infection were reported.

The hospital had opened the OT only last week after it was shut for over a month following contamination scare.

Two patients contracted infection after being operated on Saturday, said hospital sources. “From what we know, the damage is irreversible and the patients have permanently lost their eyesights. The incident came to light on Tuesday, following which, the OT was shut down,” said a doctor at the hospital. This was confirmed by two other sources at the hospital.

All surgical procedures have been currently discontinued.

After bacterial contamination was reported in June, the hospital had roped in a microbiology team from Maulana Azad Medical College to examine the samples taken from the OT. Despite repeated sterilisation and change of machinery and staff at the OT, the hospital is still struggling to maintain a high sanitation level.

“There has been an overhaul of all the machines in the OT. Apart from the doctors, the staff has also been changed. But the staff is not being well-trained to maintain a high level of sanitation in and outside the OT,” said a hospital source.

There are frequent complaints that staff come out of the OT without changing clothes and go back inside, said another source at the administrative level at the hospital. “But there is no effort in sensitising the staff.”

The renovation work going on at the hospital’s OPD block and in one unit of the emergency block, has also contributed to the recurrence of bacterial infection, according to some hospital staff.

“If renovation work goes on for such a long time in close proximity of the theatre and no extra precaution is taken then the safety of the patients will be compromised with. Plus, the entrance of the hospital has over four open garbage vats which attract flies. Also, patients are more susceptible to infection in this season,” said a nurse.

With Guru Nanak Eye Centre being considered a government-run premier institute for eyecare, at least 25 surgeries are performed at the institute daily.

With the OT shut down for over a month, and now closed again, there is a huge backlog of cases.

“While we are trying to divert a chunk of poor patients to private hospitals under the economically weaker section category, there are patients who do not fit the category and also cannot afford treatment at private institutes.

We are flooded with queries from when the OT will start functioning. However, there is no word on it from the administration yet,” said an administrative official.

Dr B Ghosh, director of the hospital, did not respond to several calls made on his cellphone. His staff also refused to let this reporter meet him at his office.

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