Ahmedabad: Even as 12 of the 20 victims of post surgical infections at a local hospital in Mandal village of Viramgam, Ahmedabad, continued to remain under treatment at M&J Institute of Ophthalmology in Medicity campus on Monday, the police filed an FIR against trustees, doctors and others at the hospital for causing hurt due to negligence.

Notably, a senior official confirmed to Mirror that five of the 20 victims had completely lost vision in the eye that had been operated for cataract on January 10 at Shri Ramanand Hospital, while others had suffered varying degrees of damage to their eyes due to the infection. The development comes two days before the Gujarat High Court is set to hear the matter suo motu on February 7.

Megha Tevar, the in-charge SP of Rural Ahmedabad confirmed, “An FIR has been filed against all the trustees, two doctors and helpers at the hospital under sections 337, 338 and 114 of the IPC. Further investigation is underway.” These sections deal with causing hurt and grievous hurt respectively, through rash or negligent acts that endanger lives or personal safety. The FIR has been deemed “sensitive” in nature.

The infections in the critical patients had been caused by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, a pathogen on India’s Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) watch list. Notably, while the presence of p. Aeruginosa in the culture sensitivity samples of these patients had, to some extent, confirmed that this was a Hospital Acquired Infection (HAI), the primary report of the 9-member investigation team had also revealed severe lapses in infection control as well as manpower and infrastructural shortages at the hospital that was carrying out marathon ophthalmic surgeries in a rural area.

The health department’s expert panel had also taken 49 samples from the hospital premises, including its instruments, that had been sent for microbiological testing to check for infection control and contamination.
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Shri Ramanand Eye Hospital in Mandal is run by the Shri Seva NIketan Trust which has been carrying out surgical ophthalmology camps for more than three decades. In January this year, the hospital conducted 103 cataract surgeries in just four days – on January 3, 6, 8 and 10 – thus averaging more than 25 surgeries per day. This is more than even those performed in tertiary level hospitals in major cities. Their patients were mostly from rural Ahmedabad, Surendranagar and Patan, with 1 each from Mehsana and Banaskantha.