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Times of India
26 October 2009
Nellore, India

In a shocking incident, eyeballs of four persons were removed while the condition of six others who underwent a cataract surgery turned critical due to the alleged negligence of doctors. Presently, they are undergoing treatment at Sankar Netralaya in Chennai. (Watch Video)

The Andhra government has ordered a probe into the matter, officials said on Monday.

Doctors in Chennai confirmed that the six patients have diminished vision after their eyes developed post-surgery complications. Ten patients underwent cataract surgery at Bollineni Global Eye Foundation Hospital in Nellore town on October 19. In all 34 underwent eye surgery since the camp started on Oct 18.

Trouble started after a patient complained of severe pain in the eyes and approached the hospital authorities on October 20 evening. With some more patients developing eye infection, they were shifted to Chennai on October 21 for further treatment. The patients’ worst fears were confirmed when the doctors said eyeballs of four persons were badly infected and they need to be removed immediately to save their lives. Accordingly, their eyeballs were removed on October 23.

Serious doubts have cropped up over the safety measures taken during the cataract surgeries. “Saline contamination during post-surgery might have led to the eye infection,” said an expert.

However, sources said the infection was caused by use of solutions during the surgery. “We have sent the samples to the government labs for testing. We are sparing no efforts to save the eyesight of the six patients,” Sai Murali, MD of Bollineni eye hospital told TOI.

He said even those whose eyeballs were removed could see with one eye. “This was an unfortunate incident and the causes for the infection were beyond our control,” he said, claiming that 45,000 cataract surgeries have been performed in the hospital in the past six years.

Collector K Ramgopal said a specialist team of doctors has been sent to Chennai to collect the patients’ swabs. “We have ordered a preliminary probe into the incident,” he said. When contacted, district SP B Mallareddy said that no complaint has been filed against the hospital management by any of the patients or their kin. Sources said one of the patients was a doctor and he was also being treated in Chennai.

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