After botched eye operations, doctors say no surgery till sterilisation rules in place | Mumbai News


MUMBAI: Miffed with the authorities for holding surgeons responsible for seven botched eye surgeries, consultant doctors at the civicrun Bal Thackeray Hospital in Jogeshwari have decided to stop surgeries till sterilisation practices are put in order. A notice was served to the hospital management on Wednesday that no routine surgeries will be performed from Thursday.


A few consultants are also contemplating resigning from the hospital. In the last few days, letters have been sent from the general and orthopaedic units that two autoclaving machines are not functioning properly. A source said some OT instruments were being taken to RN Cooper Hospital in Juhu for sterilisation. About 20 major surgeries and 8-10 deliveries are performed at the hospital daily. More than 60% of the hospital’s treatment load is borne by honorary doctors.

“Till microbiology swabs from OTs, equipment, linen, etc are all clear of infections, no surgeries will be carried out,” a senior doctor said. Many others TOI spoke to said they were afraid of being made “scapegoats” if any patient developed a postsurgery infection. They claimed their fear stemmed from the way BMC has dealt with the surgery incident, where seven patients lost vision in varying degrees. One of the two inquiry reports blamed doctors for not taking aseptic precautions, while absolving nurses or ancillary staff for nonsterilisation of surgery equipment.

A doctor told TOI, “Why should we operate with dirty instruments and risk lives of patients?” Another doctor said BMC has long ignored the fact that annual contracts for maintenance of machines are not renewed, so personnel for autoclaving don’t come routinely. The hospital has a gas autoclaving machine but no manpower to run it. “Despite complaints, the management doesn’t act. Superiors seldom make rounds of OTs or care about infection control,” the doctor said.

The first probe, by KEM doctors, had said bacterial spore sterilisation monitoring strips were not checked every month. The Association of Medical Consultants and Bombay Ophthalmologists Association have come out in support of doctors. BMC chief Ajoy Mehta said he has got the 3rd probe report. “We are yet to take a final decision,” he said. Dean of RN Cooper Dr Ganesh Shinde was unavailable for comment.

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