The Madhya Pradesh government has sealed an operation theatre and ordered an inquiry after 11 people, who underwent cataract operations at a private hospital in Indore as part of a government programme, complained of loss of vision.
Fourteen people were operated upon at Indore Eye Hospital on August 8. Barring three, the others were asked to stay back after they reported diminishing vision, it is learnt. The patients — 13 from Dhar and one from Indore — are aged between 45 and 85.
In 2010, 18 people had complained of lack of vision after a similar surgery camp at the same hospital. The auorities had then reopened the hospital after keeping it closed for six months.
Indore Chief Medical and Health Officer Dr Praveen Jadia told The Sunday Express that the patients contracted pseudomonas infection in their eyes but it was not clear how it spread, as initial tests on equipment used during the operations have not found them to be infected. He said the patients’ eyesight had diminished but there was a fair chance of improvement.
Dr Jadia said the 11 patients had been moved to another private hospital and some of them had reported improvement in their vision. He said the private hospital was on a government panel and no irregularities had been reported between 2010 and 2019.
According to Dr Jadia, registration of Indore Eye Hospital had been cancelled under the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act but it was allowed to reopen after it was found that there was no negligence on the hospital’s part and it was monitored for a few months. He said two experts from Sankara Hospital have been invited to Indore.
Indore Eye Hospital’s senior eye surgeon, Dr Sudhir Mahashabde, said the hospital had set up a new advanced operation theatre after the 2010 incident by following norms under the national accreditation board for hospitals. He said the hospital follows all protocols and norms established by the government and the 14 operations were performed by qualified doctors. He claimed it was not proper to say 11 people had lost their vision because there is a chance for improvement. He said the hospital is run by a society and it conducts 3,500 operations free of cost every year.
Asked about the government’s claim that the OT had been sealed, Dr Mahashabde said the hospital had stopped surgeries on its own from August 9. He claimed the hospital had volunteered to inform the government authorities about the patients’ complaints and it was yet to get any order from the administration (about cancellation of registration).
Referring to the 2010 episode, Dr Mahashabde said his and other doctors’ statements had been recorded by a probe committee but it did not find any evidence to support allegations of negligence. He said he does not remember whether an FIR had been lodged against the hospital management.
While ordering an inquiry, Chief Minister Kamal Nath questioned how the hospital was allowed to reopen after the 2010 incident. He said the government will bear the cost of treatment of 11 patients and also promised cash assistance of
Rs 50,000 each.
Opposition BJP demanded compensation of Rs 25 lakh each and said they belong to poor families and it will be difficult for them to make ends meet. “Mere cancellation of registration will not help improve the patients’ vision,” said state BJP chief and Jabalpur MP Rakesh Singh while demanding that criminal action should be initiated against the doctors who conducted the operations.