Dubai: A 54-year-old Pakistani man says he went blind in his right eye following spinal surgery at a private hospital in Sharjah.
Desperately seeking “justice”, Mohammad Jan, a Sharjah resident, said he was suffering from excruciating back pain last year and the hospital’s doctors recommended spinal surgery.
“I underwent the operation in June 2011 but when I was rolled out of the operation theatre, my sons noticed that my right eye was swollen. They immediately alerted the doctor but were assured that everything would be fine,” said Jan. “When I regained consciousness, I was shocked as I could not see from my right eye.”
He claimed the hospital diagnosed him with central retinal occlusion in the right eye - a condition where patients typically present with sudden, severe and painless loss of vision.
Visual loss after spine surgery is a rare (1 in 1,000) but devastating complication. It occurs when the optic nerve located behind the eyeball is injured. It can happen to healthy patients at any age, according to researchers. Visual deficits vary from blurred vision to blindness.
Jan claimed that a month later, the hospital asked him to consult other doctors to treat his eye. “They simply refused to take responsibility,” he alleged.
Desperate, Jan complained to the Ministry of Health in August 2011. “It has been over a year now and my file is still with the ministry. I appeal to the authorities to please look into it so that due investigation is conducted and action initiated.”
He said doctors he had consulted in his home country Pakistan told him that there was no chance that his vision could be restored.
A technician by profession, he said he fears for his job. “I cannot drive or do the work I used to earlier. My back still hurts and I am managing with one eye.
“I have seven children to support. If not my vision, the hospital should at least compensate me for the irreversible damage.”
The hospital said the two doctors who Jan claims treated him do not work with them.
Queries sent to the Ministry of Health did not elicit an immediate response.