Cyprus Mail
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Probe into eye surgery ongoing a year later

The investigation at the Apollonion hospital is still ongoing regards the post-surgery complications of eight patients, including one who died, following a cataract surgery at the health facility last year, police and the health ministry told the Cyprus Mail.

A year after a group of eight patients, aged 60 to 80 years old were infected with a multi resistant bacteria that lives in the back of the eye and damages the nerve tissue right after a cataract surgery at the Apollonion hospital, authorities have yet to complete the investigation.

Deputy Director of Medical and Public Health Services, Dr Olga Kalakouta said the health ministry completed the investigation at the premises earlier this year and, following the approval of the health minister, submitted the results to the police, who also visited the hospital.

“Investigations are ongoing,” a police spokesman told the Cyprus Mail.

The health official could not disclose any more information about the conclusions of the health ministry’s probe, saying the legal service has decided against it pending the completion of the investigation.

Before the summer, the relatives of the patients also requested to see the report, but the legal service ruled against it.

Meanwhile, procedures at the private hospital, which had been suspended by a health ministry decree, continue normally.

Apollonion was not immediately available for comment.

Five of the patients who undergone cataract surgery last October had each had to have one of their eyes removed after a corrective procedure to prevent the infection from spreading to the brain.

The private doctor who was treating them said that it is unusual that eight patients in a row got infected which meant that “something during the surgery had gone wrong, either a procedure or a piece of equipment was broken or not cleaned properly,” said ophthalmologist Theodoros Potamitis.

One of the patients died, according to a relative who said that after the corrective surgery, the patient had to return to the hospital.

The patients were hospitalised in the Makarios and Nicosia public hospitals after they were infected with pseudomonas endophthalmitis infection, an antibiotic resistant bacteria that lives in the back of the eye and damages the nerve tissue.

Apollonion private hospital had said it has followed all indicated measures, including the suspension of the operation of the operating theatre in question and of a related facility and carried out all the appropriate checks and probes.

The private hospital came under scrutiny again this year, after a six-year-old boy died as a result of a complex surgery at the facility, according to the family’s forensic pathologist Marios Matsakis.

In a statement issued after the boy’s death, Apollonion said that since September 27 this year a team of highly experienced doctors is conducting heart operations on children at the hospital.

The team is “led by a renowned Cypriot paediatric heart surgeon who until recently held the position of Director of a large paediatric cardiac surgery clinic in Germany,” the hospital had said.

 

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