A government probe into complaints of infection contracted by patients operated upon at Delhi government’s only eye hospital, Guru Nanak Eye Centre, has identified a bacterial infection, the source of which has been traced to the water source in the hospital’s operation theatre (OT).
The probe team also identified several “structural defects” in the OT, Delhi health secretary SCL Das said on Tuesday.
Das said the OT had been reopened after the water source had been changed and the bed closest to the water source replaced. He said the government would commission a new OT to “restore the state-of-the-art-hospital to its original glory”.
“The water tank has been replaced and a new AHU plant has been installed. A device to inject sodium chloride solution into the water source every half-an-hour has also been installed,” Das said.
In September, Newsline had reported that after 10 patients contracted Endopthalmitis (an inflammation inside the cavity of the eye which is usually a rare complication after surgery).
After the complaints, measures were put in place to double check hygiene habits of staff, and OT surface was disinfected, before the OT was opened briefly in August. Health officials had also suggested checking renovation work nearby as a possible source of infection.
But soon after, two more patients who were operated on contracted the same infection and the OT was shut down again.
Speaking on the sidelines of a conference organised by the Delhi Health department, Das said, “The Delhi government’s inspection committee, comprising members from outside the hospital, found the source of the bacterial infection in the water in the OT. The water was used to wash and disinfect surgical instruments, gloves, gowns and OT apparel. There were also structural defects in the OT, including no proper double entry, which is essential for airflow. The entry door, when closed, had a gap of around 0.75 inch, which we noticed even when we inspected it.”
Das added that inspection teams sent by the Health department were also “surprised to find that fans were switched on inside the air-conditioned OT”.
“We asked them to switch them off immediately. We now plan to commission a proper double-entry door operation theatre that meets essential airflow requirements for infection control,” Das said.
Explaining that the source of the infection was traced by a “trial and error” or “elimination method”, Das said microbiologists from Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) tested samples from different sources including OT instruments, apparel, towels, floor and surface dust near the OT. The air conditioner ducts too were tested and the samples were found normal.
The Delhi government team, which included MAMC doctors and PWD personnel, then tested the water source and traced the infection there.
LACK OF HYGIENE
# ‘Infected’ water was used to wash and disinfect surgical instruments, gloves, gowns and OT apparel
# No proper double entry, which is essential for airflow
# Fans switched on inside the air-conditioned OT
Delhi health secretary SCL Das said
# Water source had been changed
# Bed closest to the water source has been replaced
# Govt will commission new OT with proper double-entry door