Probe drags into patients blinded by operation

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Cyprus police say they are making headway with investigations into eight private hospital patients operated on for cataracts but presented serious complications due to infection, partially losing their sight.

According to the website Philenews, the Nicosia Criminal Investigations Department (CID) has been handed a Health Ministry report on the incidents carried out by experts.

The 70-page report was handed to police in July, nine months after the incident happened.

Police are now reportedly taking supplementary statements from the doctor involved in the procedures before forwarding the file to the legal services.

The incidents happened almost a year ago when the eight patients had undergone surgery but were infected by a drug-resistant strain of bacteria, causing them to lose their sight in the affected eye.

One of the patients eventually lost his life due to complications that followed.

The eight patients were operated on at the Apollonion Hospital in Nicosia.

Initially, they were sent to a private hospital in Limassol, where doctors treated their infection.

Due to the seriousness of their condition, they were then transferred to state hospitals in the capital.

Four of the patients, aged 60 to 80, were treated at Makarios Hospital and four at Nicosia General Hospital.

Biopsies showed all patients had pseudomonas endophthalmitis infection, a multi-resistant bacteria that lives in the back of the eye and damages the nerve tissue.

All the patients had undergone a cataract surgery at the Apollonion around 20 October 2020.

Authorities have been looking into whether the infections that occurred were due to deficient measures, negligence or an external factor that could not have been predicted despite the measures taken in the operating room.

An operation to address problems caused by cataracts to the eye are believed to be safe as doctors say that, on average, the risk of infection for such operations is 1 in 1,000.