Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1282, (11- 17 February 2016)
Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Issue 1282, (11- 17 February 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Defective treatments

Four members of staff at Tanta Ophthalmology Public Hospital have been suspended after 15 patients lost their sight, reports Ahmed Morsy

Tanta Ophthalmology Public Hospital
Tanta Ophthalmology Public Hospital
Al-Ahram Weekly

The public prosecutor in Tanta has questioned three doctors at the Tanta Ophthalmology Public Hospital, as well as the hospital director, after 15 patients lost their sight following treatment.

The prosecution ordered samples of the medicine with which the patients were injected to be sent to the Health Ministry’s central laboratories for analysis.

The investigation began after 15 diabetic patients at the hospital lost their sight after being injected.

On Friday, Health Minister Ahmed Emad suspended the director of the hospital and three physicians for alleged negligence. The four were summoned to the ministry’s headquarters for an administrative investigation.

Emad has formed a technical committee of ophthalmologists who will investigate the case in coordination with the governor of Al-Gharbeya and the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tanta.

Most of the patients were transferred to the Ophthalmology Department at Tanta University Hospital following complications suffered after being injected.

“We have received 13 patients,” said Madgi Eissa, director of the department. “They all suffered from opacification of the eyes after being injected with Avastin, a drug that is not authorised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) but which physicians at the Ophthalmology Public Hospital of Tanta used because of its low cost.”

Mohamed Sharshar, the Health Ministry’s deputy in Al-Gharbeya, insists Avastin is used routinely around the world. “Avastin is internationally approved. More than 100 patients have been treated with the drug in Tanta with no complications,” he said.

Sharshar confirmed that the director of Tanta Ophthalmology Public Hospital and three doctors have been suspended pending investigations.

On Monday, Ahmed Sakr, the governor of Al-Gharbeya, visited the patients at the University Hospital and promised that any negligence involved in their cases would not go unpunished.

“The patients will not bear any expenses. They are being treated at the government’s expense,” said Emad.

When Emad visited the patients he ordered their immediate transfer to Dar Al-Shefaa Hospital in Cairo. At a press conference following his visit, Emad said Avastin is used in most ophthalmology departments.

“The medicine is not prohibited and it is not the cause of the complications the patients suffered. It is possible that something happened during the processing or transporting of the drug,” said Emad.

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