JAGGAMPETA (EAST GODAVARI DIST): Eight daily wagers have lost their vision allegedly after botched surgeries performed on their eyes at a free cataract surgery camp organised by Koduri Ranga Rao-Subba Lakshmi Lions Hospital in Jaggampet of East Godavari district. The surgeries were performed on April 14.
The incident came to light after the victims poured out their woes before the media. In response, P Mallikarjuna Raju, programme manager of the District Blindness Control Society (DBCS), inspected the hospital and seized all the records related to surgeries. “After a thorough inspection of the records and taking statements of both the hospital management and the victims, we will prepare a report and submit it to the District Collector through the District Medical and Health Officer,” Mallikarjuna Raju said on Tuesday.
According to the victims, a group of 10 NREGS workers from Rachapalli and J Kothuru areas in Vetlapalem near Samalkot, went to Koduri Ranga Rao Lions Hospital with complaints of cataract on April 13 after coming to know that the hospital was conducting a free eye testing and surgery camp. After screening, as many as 23 persons, all in the age group of 50 to 56, from Jaggampeta and Vetlapalem were advised surgery.
The next day, the surgeries were performed and the patients were sent home with eye drops for the next 10 days. The doctors removed the right eye of Raachapalli Isaac, citing critical infection.
After a week, eight people developed irritation and severe pain in their eyes. They went to the Lions Hospital, where the doctors examined them again and prescribed new eye drops and ointments.
But, the problem continued and the doctors kept changing the medicines. In the process, six patients lost the vision of eyes upon which the surgeries were performed.
In the second week of June, three more patients approached the hospital again with severe pain and other infections and this time, the doctors referred them to LV Prasad Eye Institute in Vizag.
In Vizag, the doctors opined that Kuppala Krupa Rao, among the patients, had developed a bad infection in his right eye and it should be removed immediately. Finally, Rao lost his eyesight, taking the number of victims to eight.
The hospital usually gets surgeons from outside and has been organising free cataract surgery camps since long, as part of its social service activities, Mallikarjuna Raju said.
“However, 12 out of the 20 patients developed endophthalmitis owing to lack of hygiene in post-operative period. Two or three of them have reportedly lost their vision and eight patients are suffering severely. But, it is early to come to a conclusion,” he said.
Endophthalmitis is an inflammation of the interior eye which is known as a common infection developed owing to unhygienic conditions during intra-ocular surgeries, particularly in cataract. “It can lead to loss of vision, if neglected for a long time,” ophthalmologists said.