8-month wait for surgery

Eye hospital's OT shut since May, operations on hold

Patients at the government-run Guru Nanak Eye Centre are being given dates seven or eight months from now, sources at the hospital said.

With the OT being shut for the third time since May, all patients eligible for operation are being turned away by the hospital. “While some patients are getting dates after eight months, a few others are being asked to visit the hospital after four months to check the status of OT availability. There is no assurance for these patients when the OT will start functioning,” said a top source at the hospital. 

With the hospital being a premiere institute for eye care, the hospital authorities had earlier put the number of patients operated daily at 50. The outdoor patient department (OPD), however, sees up to 700 patients daily, they had said.

While there are some cases like cataract can be temporarily deferred, a significant number of cases have to be treated on priority basis.

“We got a few cases in which children were suffering from eye tumours. These people cannot even afford treatment at private hospitals and need immediate surgical intervention,” said an official at the hospital.     

“The biggest problem that we are facing is diverting the poor patients to private hospitals who are supposed to give free treatment under the category of economically weaker section (EWS). With a huge number of such patients, some of these private hospitals are not even receiving them,” said the official.

The OT at the hospital was shut down in mid-August after it was open for only a week.  Two patients had reportedly contracted infection in the first week itself which had forced the hospital authorities to revamp the OT. 

After bacterial contamination was reported in June, a microbiology team from Maulana Azad Medical College had examined samples from the OT.  Despite repeated sterilisation and change of machinery and staff at the OT, the hospital has still failed to meet the basic hygiene. Currently, there is no word on when the OT will start.

“We have heard that a team is looking into the recurring infections in the operation theatre. A report was also forwarded to the health department. There is no confirmation on the opening date. We are flooded with queries from patients,” said another source at the administration department of the hospital.
 Dr B Ghosh, director of the hospital, could not be reached for comments despite several calls made to him.

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