AN EXPERT team of state health department has concluded that presence of the malicious bacteria of genus Pseudomonas in the operation theatre of Sadhu Vaswani Hospital in Junction area of the city caused loss of vision among 12 patients who underwent cataract operation there on December 21.
Of the 25 patients who had undergone the operation, 12 of them developed complications in their operated eyes, such as loss of vision and irritation.
The matter came to light on December 28 after patients and their relatives created a ruckus in the hospital. A day later, the health department constituted an expert team comprising three eye surgeons and a microbiologist from the government-run MJ Institute of Ophthalmology in Ahmedabad. The team visited the hospital on December 29 and took 16 samples from the operation theatre (OT) where the surgeries were performed.
“We received a copy of the report from the team on Tuesday. The report states that laboratory tests of two out of the 16 samples collected by the team have returned positive for the Pseudomonas genome bacteria. These are malicious bacteria causing fulminant pus formation in human body; in this case, the eye,” regional deputy director of health of Rajkot zone, Dr Rupali Mehta told The Indian Express.
The RDD said the report confirmed that the patients had contracted the infection from the hospital. “Samples taken from the scrub which doctors use in the OT to clean their hands and aspiration tube of Phaco machine which is used to conduct surgeries have returned positive for the bacteria. As a standard procedure, no bacteria should be present in OT,” said Dr Mehta.
Pus had formed in one eye of each of the 12 patients who reported complications, which resulted in blurred or loss of vision. After the matter came to light, they were referred to GT Sheth Eye Hospital on the campus of Rajkot Civil Hospital.
Dr Mehta said the patients are responding well to treatment. “A woman patient who had refused post-surgical care has lost vision in one eye. But we have managed to save her eyeballs. Of the remaining 11, four patients have been progressing nicely, clinically and vision-wise. Their visions have improved as pus in their eyes have resolved. The other seven are also showing clinical improvement but their scope of regaining vision depends on resolution of the pus,” said the RDD.
Meanwhile, the hospital OT continued to be sealed as guidelines were issued by the state health department for all hospitals in the district asking them to take necessary precautions during surgeries, said Dr Mehta. She added the OT needs to be properly fumigated and surgical equipment need to be sterilised.
The RDD added that the expert team will visit Rajkot one more time on Friday to examine the affected patients. The patients have also filed an application with Pradyumannagar police station seeking action against the hospital. Police inspector Manish Nakum, however, said they could not take action on the basis of just an application.