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International

One dead, more than a dozen treated for botched diabetic retinopathy injections

25/09/2017
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Indian authorities are investigating more than 20 alleged botched diabetic retinopathy injections at a New Delhi hospital that has already resulted in a fatality.

The Delhi Health Department has asked for a report from Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital following claims that 22 patients were allegedly inoculated with contaminated Avastin (Bevacizumab).



"Usually this kind of reaction does not happen as Avastin is a safe drug, used internationally."
Dr Sunil Kumar, Director of Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital

The patients were rushed to an eye centre for immediate surgery after complications arose with symptoms including itchiness, pain and shortness of breathing.

One of the patients suffered a cardiac arrest in the days following the treatment after she was taken off heart medication in order to receive treatment for the blurred vision she had developed as a result of the contaminated injection.

Some of the patients, who have since been discharged and are on medication, claim to still be suffering side effects and blurred vision.

“The preliminary inquiry suggests that a medicine led to an adverse reaction in patients, following which 22 suffering from diabetic retinopathy got worse, which usually does not happen. All 22 patients are under close observation and a few have been operated upon,” director of the hospital Dr Sunil Kumar told a local newspaper.

Dr Atul Kumar, chief of the AIIMS RP eye center where the patients were taken for emergency treatment, confirmed that the 20 patients were all administered with Avastin at the GTB hospital.

"Patients were rushed to an eye centre for immediate surgery after complications arose"

“Usually this kind of reaction does not happen as Avastin is a safe drug, used internationally. In a week, I use at least 50 Avastin doses on my patients, but I never faced this issue,” he said.

Hospital authorities have formed a committee to investigate possible lapses that caused the incident, which is independent from the government-initiated investigation by the health department.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the Delhi Government seeking a detailed report into the matter.

Carl Zeiss
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