16 lose eyesight after botched cataract surgery in Ambala; Haryana govt forms probe panel

Dec 01, 2015, 18:00 IST | Agencies

Ambala: At least 16 people suffered partial vision loss after undergoing cataract surgery at a charitable hospital at Maheshnagar in Ambala, officials said today. Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij has ordered a departmental probe into the incident.

Ambala Senior Medical Officer (SMO) Dr Vinod Kumar Gupta said the charitable society 'Sarv Kalyan Sewarth Samithi' at Maheshnagar conducted the cataract operation on 16 patients on November 24.

"The society had no mandatory clearance from us to hold the camp. They had applied for permission in 2013, but it was denied by us as we first wanted to conduct an inspection of the hospital and get details of the surgeons who will conduct operations," he said.

"However, without permission they conducted the camp. Our team had raided the hospital but it is locked. A case had been registered in this connection by the police regarding negligence on the complaint of the SMO," he said.

Dr Gupta said these societies hold such camps as they get huge incentive amounting to Rs 1000 per person operated upon. He said most of the patients have now contacted PGI at Chandigarh for further treatment of their eyes.

Sources at PGI said the condition of the eyes of the patient, who were operated upon, is bad.

According to reports, the victims realised that they were blinded a day after the surgery when the bandages were opened. There was panic in the camp when many complained of similar issues, following which they were rushed to PGI Chandigarh.

A similar incident had taken place at Samalkha in Panipat in March in which 13 patients suffered from vision loss.

Meanwhile, Anil Vij on Tuesday said that a three-member committee has been constituted to probe the incident.

"We have constituted a three-member committee, which will probe the matter...," Vij said.

Meanwhile, a PGIMER spokesperson at Chandigarh said that 14 patients came to Advanced Eye Centre with post-operative infection on November 26 and 27.

"All the patients had undergone cataract surgery at Ambala on November 24. In PGI, these patients were treated with antibiotic injections in the eye besides topical and intravenous antibiotics," the spokesperson said.

Eleven patients required surgical procedure, she added. 

"At present, 14 patients have responded very well to the treatment given and in one patient, we are trying to save the eye," the spokesperson said.

She said that 12 patients are being discharged today on oral and topical drugs and advised follow up.

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