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Wednesday , April 28 , 2010
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Surgery delay affects eye

An alleged clean bill of health by doctors of SSKM Hospital’s emergency ward to a young trader, who had fractured his skull in a motorcycle accident and needed immediate surgery, has almost cost him his left eye.

Mithun Bhowmik was also allegedly turned away from National Medical College and Hospital on March 6, hours after the mishap in Barasat.

After undergoing the emergency surgery in a nursing home four days later, the 24-year-old cannot see clearly with his left eye. The complication could have been avoided had the surgery been performed in time, feel neurosurgeons.

“We trusted the SSKM doctors when they told us that my son was fine after taking a look at the CT Scan plate. After four days, we found out at Jubilant Kalpataru Hospital that he had fractured his skull and the optic nerve (which connects the retina to the brain) was getting compressed as a result,” said Shachidulal Bhowmik.

An unconscious Mithun was first wheeled into Barasat District Hospital, where the CT Scan was done. His family members then rushed him to SSKM with the scan plate.

“Doctors in the SSKM emergency ward, where we had reached around midnight, said he could be taken home right away. He had regained consciousness by then and was in pain. We asked the doctors to admit him but they insisted that there was nothing wrong with him,” added Shachidulal.

Not wanting to take a chance, the relatives took Mithun to National Medical College and Hospital, where doctors at the emergency ward allegedly told them that there would be no neurosurgeon at the hospital for the next three days and therefore there was no point in admitting the youth.

“It was already 2am and the doctors at SSKM had stressed there was nothing wrong with Mithun, so we took him home,” said Shachidulal.

But when the youth’s eyes remained red and his vision blurred after four days, he underwent fresh tests at the nursing home and was subsequently operated upon.

“The long delay had made the surgery critical. Within a year the patient’s vision would improve,” said Gopal Achari, the neurosurgeon who operated on Mithun. He removed a bone flap from the skull (craniotomy) to reach the optic nerve and shift the bone fragment compressing it.

The medical superintendents of both SSKM and National said they would “look into the incident” if Mithun’s relatives contacted them with the emergency “ticket”.

The superintendent of National Medical College and Hospital, S.K. Saha, said neurosurgeons treated patients every day at the hospital.

“It is not easy to detect a compression of the optic nerve from a CT Scan. But the doctors in the emergency ward should definitely have asked the patient to undergo a check-up the next day. The earlier the surgery is performed in such cases, the better,” said neurosurgeon Parimal Tripathy.

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