Cataract surgery eyesight
Patients with their eyes bandaged rest after their cataract surgeries at a hospital. [Representational Image]Reuters File

A police complaint was lodged against the government-run Sarojini Devi (SD) Eye Hospital in Hyderabad after at least 13 patients who had undergone cataract surgeries experienced pain and loss of vision. Preliminary tests have revealed that the patients were affected by bacteria called Klebsiella, which was found in the Ringer's Lactate or RL solution that was used to wash their eyes.

Of the 13 patients who were operated on June 30, six have responded to anti-bacterial treatment, while seven have experienced complete loss of vision in one eye, the Times of India reported. Four women and three men aged between 50 and 70 years are still suffering from the repercussions of contaminated RL solution being used on them. They experienced vomiting, intense pain and puss formation in the eye. The bacteria, Klebsiella, is also known to cause pneumonia, meningitis, urinary tract infection, septicemia, diarrhea and soft tissue infections.

A police case was registered by a relative of one of the victims. The hospital has been booked under Section 338 of IPC (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others).

The batch of RL solution was procured by the state's Medical Services and Infrastructure Development Corporation from Nagpur-based Haseeb Pharmaceuticals.

"Bacterial infection is most likely a result of unclean wards or other issues in the hospital," Yusuf Badar, Haseeb Pharmaceuticals' Managing Director, was quoted as saying by the Hindu.

"I did supply the RL to the hospital three or four months ago. But this solution is never used for washing eyes. It is done only with normal saline... also, the solution was tested by the Hyderabad hospital and found to be fine.My bill was cleared only after that," he told the TOI.

One of the patients, 58-year-old M Prabhavathi from Jeedimetla, claimed that the hospital did not inform the patients what had gone wrong, instead they were taken back to the Operation Theatre for surgeries repeatedly.

Of the 21 patients who had undergone eye surgery on June 30, only 13 were infected with the bacteria as a single bottle of RL solution was used for them.

There are also differing reports regarding the number of patients who were infected as one of the patients, Ch Manikyam, 75, was quoted as saying by the TOI that 15 patients other than him who were repeatedly taken back for corrective surgeries.