Centre seeks report from Bihar govt on botched cataract surgery at private hospital

Express News Service

PATNA: The Union Health Ministry has sought a detailed report from the Bihar government on botched cataract surgery at a private eye hospital in Muzaffarpur in November last in which 24 patients lost their eyesight due to infection. The eyes of 15 infected people were later removed, 11 at the SKMCH at Muzaffarpur and four at the eye hospital due to severe infection.

The Union Health Ministry also sought to know from the Bihar government on the initiatives taken by the latter post-cataract surgery and subsequent infection. The letter reached the office of the state health department on Friday, highly placed sources in the state government said.

“Furnish details such as how the incident happened, the number of the victims and steps taken by the state government as early as possible,” a enior health department said, quoting the letter from the union health ministry.

Efforts to contact the Additional Chief Secretary of the Health Department Pratyaya Amrit proved futile. However, another officer in the department said that a team from the state headquarters visited Muzaffarpur to inquire into the matter. The team is expected to submit its report on Monday.

“The report will be sent to the union health ministry either on Monday or Tuesday. Details are being collected. The department has also sought a report from Muzaffarpur district administration on the issue,” the officer in the know of affairs told TNIE on Saturday.

Health department special secretary Sanjay Kumar Singh confirmed the removal of the eyes of 15 people, 11 at the SKMCH in Muzaffarpur and four at the eye hospital. He said the remaining three patients undergoing treatment at SKMCH were shifted to IGIMS on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the authorities in Muzaffarpur sealed the private hospital located at Juran Chhapra and initiated a probe. Earlier, an FIR was lodged against 14 people, including three doctors and assistants on Thursday. The names of the secretary of the eye hospital Dilip Jalan and its manager Deepak Kumar also figured in the FIR lodged at the Brahmapura police station in Muzaffarpur.

The Bihar chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has raised an objection over the police complaint lodged against the doctors who performed operations on 65 people at a free eye relief camp at the hospital.

A senior functionary of the association Dr. Ajay Kumar said, “It is a wrong precedent to lodge a police case against the doctors before the investigation is complete. The government should look into the matter.”

On the other hand, the authorities at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), Patna contacted a Hyderabad based hospital on Saturday for cornea transplant of three patients being treated at the facility.

Altogether nine patients were brought to IGIMS on Friday from Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) at Muzaffarpur for better treatment. State health minister Mangal Pandey met the patients and assured them all cooperation.

Pandey later told this reporter that the treatment of the patients would be done free of cost. He, however, hastened to add that the guilty would not be spared whosoever they may be.