A severe infection outbreak at Shri Ramanand Eye Hospital in Mandal village, Viramgam, has left at least four patients likely to lose sight in one eye. The infection is alleged to have been caused by a lack of Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) practices at the hospital.
Sources within the Gujarat Health Department have indicated that this number could increase depending on the victims’ response to treatment in the coming days. This alarming prognosis comes as three more patients, out of the 29 who underwent cataract surgery at the hospital on January 10, were admitted to M&J Institute of Ophthalmology in Medicity Campus, Ahmedabad, on Thursday.
Field health teams identified these patients, along with others, as having severe eye infections during their survey of all 103 patients who underwent ophthalmic surgeries at the trust-run hospital between January 1 and 10 this year. With these new transfers, the victim toll in the incident has risen to 20 patients. Previously, five patients were admitted to Medicity on January 15, and 12 more on January 16.
The victims are primarily poor and elderly patients from five surrounding districts who attended the free cataract surgery camp at the trust-run hospital.
Dr. Swati Vijay Ravani, Director of M&J Institute of Ophthalmology, stated, “We have received three more patients for treatment from Viramgam Sub-District Hospital (SDH), and they are currently under treatment. Today, two patients were also discharged from the hospital.” Doctors had earlier identified the source of the infection as the Pseudomonas Aeruginosa bacteria, a pathogen on India’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) watchlist.
A preliminary report by a nine-member expert committee pointed to lapses at the hospital premises. However, the government has yet to instruct the Ahmedabad Rural Police to take legal action in this matter, as confirmed by in-charge SP Megha R. Tevar. A Suo Motu PIL filed by the Gujarat HC, based on the report published in the newspaper named Ahmedabad Mirror, will be heard next on February 7.