10 lose eyesight after surgery, Andhra orders probe


Hyderabad : The Andhra Pradesh government Monday ordered a probe after 10 people, who underwent cataract surgery in a free eye check-up camp in a hospital Oct 20, lost their eyesight, officials said Monday.

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The incident took place in Nellore district, bordering Tamil Nadu.

After the surgery, eyeballs of four of the affected people had to be removed to save their lives, their relatives said.

They were among 34 people operated upon by a team of doctors at Bollineni Eye Hospital and Research Centre in Nellore town.

Officials said 15 of the people, who were operated upon at the hospital, came back the next day with complaints of severe pain and a burning sensation. The number of infected people Monday rose to 22 with seven more approaching hospitals in Chennai and Vijayawada with post-surgery complications.

Eleven of the infected persons were shifted to Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai, where the doctors said that the chances of getting their eyesight back were bleak.

Global Eye Foundation affiliated to the Bollineni hospital had conducted a camp at a couple of villages in Indukurpet mandal in the district Oct 18 and identified these people who required surgery.

While the families of the victims alleged that they turned blind due to negligence by the doctors, the hospital authorities said the infection was a result of the patients not taking precautions.

Blaming the doctors at Bollineni for the tragedy, the relatives of the patients demanded that the government take serious action against them.

The Nellore district collector has formed a team comprising five officials to probe the incident.

“We have launched the probe. We have directed the hospital authorities to stop all operations till the probe is completed,” Collector K. Ramgopal told reporters.

The district authorities have sent a team of doctors to Chennai to collect swabs from the patients. District health officials said the medicines and equipment used for the surgery were also sent for examination. They said action would be taken against the hospital only after receiving reports from the concerned labs.

The Bollineni hospital authorities have denied that negligence by the doctors led to the incident.

“There is not a single incident where negligence by doctors has resulted in the infection. There could be several reasons for the infection and we will know the facts after testing of the swabs which have already been sent to government labs,” N. Sai Murali, chief ophthalmologist at the hospital, said.

A team of four doctors had performed the surgery. Terming the incident as unfortunate, Murali pointed out that 45,000 cataract surgeries were performed at the hospital during the last six years and not a single incident of infection was reported.