Cataract Surgery Suspended at Devon Hospital due to Consultant Eye Surgeon Negligence

Cataract surgery was temporarily suspended at the Mount Stuart Hospital in Torquay after consultant eye surgeon negligence was attributed to several patients being administered an overdose of antibiotics.

The consultant eye surgeon negligence was revealed after two patients – who had undergone cataract surgery at the Mount Stuart Hospital – attended the Emergency Department of nearby Torbay Hospital complaining of painful eyes.

Examinations of both patients revealed that an overdose of antibiotics had been administered during their respective procedures on July 26, and the Mount Stuart Hospital was alerted straight away.  The Mount Stuart Hospital immediately suspended cataract surgery and launched an investigation.

The results of the investigation showed that the overdose had been caused by the antibiotic having been administered intracamerally (into a chamber deeper within the eye) when the dilution of the antibiotic had been prepared for sub-conjunctive use (just underneath the clear surface of the eye).

A hospital spokesperson explained that the same antibiotic would have been use for both methods of administration but the concentration mix is much different and the stronger solution should not have been administered intracamerally.

“Process failure” and “human” error” were blamed for the consultant eye surgeon negligence and the consultant surgeon – along with the surgeon´s assistant and a circulating practitioner – was suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.

All nineteen patients who underwent cataract surgery at the hospital on July 26 were recalled for an immediate check-up. Two patients were reported as being “seriously harmed” and four others “showed symptoms” of an eye injury. None of the recalled patients required corrective eye surgery.

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) investigation was also launched into the consultant eye surgeon negligence which found that appropriate action had been taken quickly to ensure the safety of patients that had undergone cataract surgery. An apology was also issued by the hospital.

Speaking after the CQC investigation, Gill Gant – from the South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group – said: “We are satisfied that the hospital has learned important lessons from this incident and that it has acted swiftly to make the necessary changes that will ensure future safety for patients.”

Cataract Surgery has now been resumed at the Mount Stuart Hospital.

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