TN Govt stops eye hospital from performing cataract surgeries

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Tiruchirapalli, Nov 15 (UNI) The Tamil Nadu Government has barred all units of the city-based Joseph Eye Hospital from performing cataract surgeries under the National Programme of Control of Blindness, for a year, according to official sources.

The sources said yesterday this action was followed by vision problems caused to about 65 people, who underwent cataract surgery at the hospital's satellite unit at Perambalur in July this year.

It might be recalled that the patients were examined at a special eye camp conducted by the hospital in association with the District Blindness Control Society in Kaduvanur village in Sankarapuram taluk of Villupuram district on July 28. The incident kicked up a furore as many of the affected people were being admitted to Joseph Eye Hospital here and the district headquarters hospital at Villupuram complaining of pain and loss of vision.

The state government subsequently gave a compensation of Rs one lakh each to the patients, who lost vision in one of their operated eyes, the sources said. Besides ordering all the Collectors to cancel the permission granted to the hospital for conducting eye camps under the programme, the State Health Department had also recommended action against Baxter (India) Private Limited, which manufactured the Ringer Lactate solution used for the surgeries at the Perambalur Hospital. It had advised the Director of Drug Control to initiate action under the Drug Control Act, the sources added.

The report of the Micro Biology Department of the K A P Viswanatham Government Medical College had found that the Ringer Lactate solution was contaminated. An inquiry conducted by a team of doctors led by N Balasubramanian, Dean-cum-Special Officer, Government Medical College, Perambalur, had concluded that the contaminated solution and the air contamination in the operation theatre of the hospital at Perambalur could be the reasons for the infection, which caused blindness among the patients, the sources said.

The Project Director of the State Blindness Control Society, who inspected the hospitals here and in Perambalur along with Health Department officials, had found that the Perambalur Hospital was not accredited to perform eye surgeries. Its post-operative ward needed improvements.


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