Bihar eye cataract surgery
Most villagers who underwent a cataract surgery lost their sight after an operation at a hospital in Muzaffarpur on Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021. Image Credit: ANI

Patna: Authorities in Bihar have registered a case against a private hospital after a botched cataract surgery at a free health camp resulted in villagers losing their vision. A total of 65 villagers had undergone cataract surgery at the camp organised in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district by a single doctor on November 22. Almost all the patients have now gone blind.

“We have registered a case against the medical team that conducted the surgeries. There is prima facie violation (of medical ethics) by a doctor conducting more than 12 surgeries in a day,” Muzaffarpur civil surgeon Vinay Kumar Sharma told the media on Thursday, adding they were also looking into other possible violations by the hospital administration. He has also sought a list of patients who were operated upon at the hospital.

The authorities have also sealed the eye hospital in question and sent for medical examination all the medical equipment used for surgery on the day. The equipment have been sent to the microbiology lab. A senior health official in charge of investigation said the incident probably occurred due to poor sterilisation and hygiene.

A case has been registered against the team of doctors and the hospital administration following an instruction issued by the state health department. “More than a dozen patients who underwent surgery had their eyes removed after severe infections. This is a very serious matter. The accused persons will be sternly dealt with,” state health secretary Pratyay Amrit said.

The National Human Rights Commission has served notice to the Bihar government. “The media reports raise a serious issue of human rights violation. Conducting eye surgeries in such a reckless manner, violating norms of the medical protocols at a government hospital, is a serious matter of concern,” the NHRC said in a press statement.

The rights body has also sought a detailed report from the state government within four weeks. The government was told to inform about the exact number of patients who have lost their eyes, status of the medical treatment being provided to them and the relief provided by the state government, including action against the responsible officers/doctors.

Doctors at a government hospital, meanwhile, removed the infected eyes of nine more patients on Wednesday, thus bringing the number of such patients to 15. Doctors say many more patients could have to go through a similar process as almost all the 65 patients are afflicted with severe eye infections.

The health department has set up a special ward at the Srikrishna Medical College and Hospital in Muzaffarpur where some patients with eye infections have been admitted for treatment. The patients are under the observation of doctors and medical staff who have been deployed round the clock.