Botched-up eye surgeries: Jogeshwari hospital doctors fired

Mumbai: After five patients lost their eye sight and two were partially blinded by botched-up surgeries at the Hindu Hridaysamrat Balasaheb Thackeray Trauma Care Centre, Jogeshwari, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Monday, transferred the medical superintendent of the hospital, and terminated the services of three doctors, including the operating surgeon. The Free Press Journal had reported the incident on Saturday.

A preliminary probe has revealed the equipment used in the cataract surgeries were not sterilised and the unhygienic condition in the operation theatre was one of the major reasons for the tragedy. Idzes Kundan, the additional municipal commissioner (health), said the internal committee report found the surgical scope (a probe), was re-used on other patients without sterilising. “We have suspended the operating surgeon immediately and another inquiry for medical negligence is also pending against the team.

The medical superintendent of the hospital has been transferred and we will make sure such incidents do not occur in future,” said Kundan. Meanwhile, all seven patients, except for 56-year-old Sangeeta Rajbhar, have been discharged. “Rajbhar is still under treatment, as 25 days on, she only has some perception of light but cannot identify shapes or colours,” said a KEM Hospital doctor.

Of the seven patients, six underwent cataract surgeries, while on January 4, Rajbhar was operated upon for intraocular lens implant surgery in her left eye. A day after the surgery, all patients had developed redness around the eye and had various degrees of vision loss, with three facing severe loss of vision.

It was later revealed that the patients had suffered a severe bacterial infection of pseudomonas aeruginosa—a parasite commonly responsible for hospital-acquired infections. On Monday, Sanjay Nirupam, Mumbai president of the Congress, who visited the hospital said the hospital did not even have designated staff for dressing patients’ wounds and the sweepers were carrying out this task.

“Stinking operation theatres indicated the level of sanitisation in the hospital and it is sad that poor patients had to suffer loss of vision for lack of quarantine measures. We were informed by hospital staff that the doctors used the same equipment on all seven patients without sterilising them, which was the cause of infection,” said Nirupam.

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