The Tuen Mun Eye Centre is facing allegations that it was negligent in handling an elderly patient who underwent cataract surgery at the clinic two years ago.
A 68-year-old man surnamed Lee has claimed that doctors failed to remove sutures properly after conducting an eye operation on him in July 2014, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
Lee had intraocular lens implanted into his left eye in the surgery but has since reported conditions such as prolonged discomfort, pain and fear of light.
He said his daily life and sleep was affected following the medical procedure.
Last month, Lee went to a doctor after he noticed swelling on his left eye. An examination suggested that he was having problems as sutures were not removed properly from his 2014 surgery.
Lee said he consulted several doctors and all of them have similar suspicions.
A spokesperson at the Tuen Mun Hospital, which operates the Tuen Mun Eye Centre, said normally five to seven stitches are required to close a wound. The sutures used are extremely fine, and they would normally degrade over a period of time.
Doctors would only need to remove sutures unless they are exposed, loosened, broken or causing inflammation, the spokesperson added.
Referring to Lee’s case, the hospital said doctors had removed the exposed and loosened sutures on Lee’s left eye following his operation and that the remaining threads will degrade naturally.
Following the patient’s complaints, the hospital said it will to follow up on the case closely.
Andrew Wan Siu-kin, vice-chairman of the Democratic Party, who has been assisting Lee, said it was abnormal that doctors suddenly decided to remove sutures one year after the surgery, while claiming that the sutures are degradable.
Wan said the incident could well be a medical blunder that the hospital tried to brush under the carpet.
As the surgery was not a complex one, the Hospital Authority must come forward and offer an explanation, he said.
Among the things that need to be determined are whether the doctors used the wrong sutures, the reason for the exposed threads and why Lee’s vision did not improve after the treatment, Wan said.
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