Kakinada: Probe on into eye tragedy

KAKINADA: Gross medical negligence at an eye camp conducted at Jaggampet by The Lions Club at may have led to the total blindness of five persons and the partial loss of vision of four others. The records of the Lions Club Hospital have been seized. The district authorities have launched an inquiry into the incident. They are unsure of the causes of the mishap.

District collector Karthikeya Misra has ordered district medical and health officer K. Chandraiah to look into the incident. The DMHO, in turn, has instructed Dr P. Mallikarjun, the programme manager of the District Blindness Control Society, to conduct a detailed inquiry and submit a report on the matter. On Tuesday, Dr Mallikarjuna visited the Lions Club Hospital and questioned the available staff about the incident. He thoroughly inspected the operation theatre and wards and seized the hospital’s records.

He also visited Vetlapalem village in Samalkot mandal, J. Kothuru village in Jaggampet mandal, and Rachapalli village in Prathipadu mandal to meet with the victims. Sources reveal that Dr Mallikarjun, in his preliminary inquiry, has uncovered several lapses on the hospital’s part. It is suspected that improper implementation of sterilisation procedures and a lack of trained paramedical personnel may have led to the incident.

Despite the hospital having only 16 beds, 25 eye surgeries were performed on the first day, and 21 on the second day. The inquiry has revealed that the operations performed on April 12 have been successful, while those performed on April 13 have resulted in a loss of vision. It has been found that patients were not given proper pre-operative and post-operative care, as per the norms of the National Programme for the Control of Blindness. It has also been revealed that the team of doctors and the management staff at the hospital failed to educate people about the surgeries.

Initial probe: Diabetes didn’t cause blindness

Diabetes is not the reason why nine people of East Godavari district lost their vision after eye surgeries performed on April 13. Dr P. Mallikarjun, the programme manager of the District Blindness Control Society, says that based on enquiries it seemed unlikely that the incidents were caused by diabetes.

C. Satyanarayana, one of the victims, says that he works hard from morning to evening and he does not suffer from diabetes. A. Sailajanath, a social worker, says that patients might have contracted eye infections because of a lapse in sterilisation procedures at the operation theatre.

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