Cypriot health officials are trying to find out what caused a serious infection to eight patients who had cataract surgery in Nicosia last week, with reports suggesting medical consumables may have introduced a dangerous bacterium that could cause loss of eyesight or worse.
An outbreak of post-cataract surgery infection was detected over the weekend after last Tuesday's eye operation on ten patients at Nicosia's Apollonio private hospital, with eight of them suffering from endophthalmitis, an infection with Gram-negative bacteria including Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Medical practices at Apollonio's eye clinic were brought into question after officials learned post-cataract surgery patients before and after the day in question did not get infected. Two patients who were operated on the same day with the group in question did not get infected.
Local media said medical consumables might have been the source of the infection, but experts who confirmed the possibility said more had to be known to pin point how exactly patients got infected.
Using consumables of different quality for some GESY patients may be an issue of quality, but nobody suggested this was the case with the cataract complications at Apollonio
Officials confirmed that lack of monitoring quality or bad practices in general, such as using products of different quality for some patients who may belong in the GESY network or other providers, may be an overall issue in healthcare quality, but nobody so far has suggested this was the case with Apollonio.
All eight patients are currently being treated in Nicosia, with four receiving treatment at Makarios Children's Hospital and four others who have additional medical issues at Nicosia General.
Reports said the infection is serious, with patients reportedly undergoing vitrectomy and other medical procedures.
In one case, an elderly female patient had cataract surgery on one eye a few months earlier at the same clinic, by the same doctor, without complications. But during a routine post-surgery check up a day after the second eye operation, a doctor saw signs of an infection, typically expected to occur up to once in every 1000 cases.
When officials learned a total of eight patients got infected by the same bacterium, operations at Apollonio's eye clinic were suspended.
Apollonio issued a statement calling the infections a result of "unfortunate complications" after surgery, vowing to examine all practices and procedures at the clinic.
The statement also said Apollonio acted according to protocols in place that are designed to ensure patient safety at all times.