Bihar Cataract Surgery Scandal: No Govt Authorisation, Clinic ‘Unfit Even For Animals’
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Freepik
Patna: In violation of basic medical ethics, a private eye hospital in Muzaffarpur district in Bihar was conducting cataract surgery and organised special cataract surgery camps without an agreement with the district health committee for the last eight months. The private eye hospital’s agreement has ended on March 31, 2021, and the hospital has not renewed the agreement. It is mandatory for a private eye hospital to have an agreement for performing the surgery.
This came to light after sixteen women and men, most of them elderly, had their eyes removed, following alleged negligence during cataract surgeries by the hospital in Muzaffarpur district. Most of them are poverty-stricken and landless people from different villages of Muzaffarpur and neighbouring districts of Vaishali, Samastipur, Champaran and Sitamarhi.
Muzaffarpur‘s civil surgeon Dr Vinay Kumar Sharma said that the Muzaffarpur Eye Hospital, situated in the Juran Chapra area, was organising cataract surgery camps without a formal agreement.
“Cataract surgery camps can be organised by private hospitals but they have to inform the civil surgeon’s office. But in this case, the hospital failed to do so,” he added.
The team has found that 328 cataract surgeries were conducted at the Muzaffarpur Eye Hospital between November 22 to 27.
Dr ND Sahu had conducted 65 cataract surgeries on Nov 22, Dr Nirupma had conducted 82 cataract surgeries on Nov 23, Dr Samiksha had conducted 63 cataract surgeries on Nov 24, Dr Nirupma had conducted 74 cataract surgeries on Nov 25, Dr Samiksha had conducted 23 cataract surgeries on Nov 26 and Dr Sahu had conducted 21 cataract surgeries on Nov 27.
Dr Sharma admitted that it was wrong for a doctor to conduct as many as 82 cataract surgeries in a day.
After a hue and cry by the opposition parties during the winter session of the Bihar Assembly, the health department, on Friday, directed the government-run Shri Krishna Medical College & Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur–where several patients with severe eye infection are undergoing treatment after the botched cataract surgery–to shift them to the Patna based Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS) for proper treatment.
IGIMS superintendent Manish Mandal said that nine patients were admitted to a special ward with semi-ICU facilities. All show symptoms of serious infections and a few of them were operated on and others were put on high doses of antibiotics. “We expect more such patients today or tomorrow as SKMCH has been referring to us for treatment,” Mandal added.
Meanwhile, the Muzaffarpur police have lodged an FIR against 14 people, including the secretary, manager and doctors attached with the Muzaffarpur Eye Hospital, in the case following the complaint by civil surgeon Dr Sharma. So far no arrest has been made
A team of experts from Patna led by Dr Harishchandra Ojha, the blindness redressal officer, who visited the Muzaffarpur Eye Hospital to investigate the case, reportedly said that the operation theatre where all cataract surgeries took place last month was not even fit for animals. The team expressed disappointment over poor facilities and lack of hygiene.
According to civil surgeon Dr Sharma, an enquiry had been launched into all cataract surgery camps organised by private eye hospitals in Muzaffarpur in view of the surfacing of botched surgeries here.
This incident has exposed an alleged health scam run by the Muzaffarpur Eye Hospital in the name of conducting “free” cataract surgeries for the poor. According to reports, the hospital was charging between Rs 3,000 to 4,000 for each surgery.
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