Whistleblower doctor says eye surgery left her nearly blind

A doctor who was one of the first to sound the alarm over the novel coronavirus outbreak in central China’s Wuhan city, said she had lost her vision. ‘one eye after cataract surgery last year.

Ai Fen, director of the emergency room at Wuhan Central Hospital, where many of the city’s coronavirus patients have been treated, blamed her near vision loss in May on the lack of clear and appropriate medical procedures before and after surgery at the Wuhan branch of AIER Eye Hospital, according to his article on the microblogging platform Weibo. She also accused the surgeon, Wang Yong, of sending her a manipulated scan of her right eye indicating that she had severe cataract, which obscures the lens and affects vision.

“I was fortunate enough to escape the virus attack earlier this year, but I couldn’t escape the retinal detachment that occurred the day after my 46th birthday,” he said. she declared. wrote in a recent article on the WeChat social app.

Left: a medical report from Ai Fen’s eye; Right: A screenshot from a video in which she describes how the cataract surgery left her partially blind. By @ 急诊 室 向日葵 艾芬 on Weibo

On Thursday, Ai said in a video post that she suffered an “obvious decrease in her eyesight” in May and that she was referred to the AIER Eye Hospital in Wuhan by an acquaintance doctor. This doctor said she needed lens replacement surgery to treat her cataract – a story the hospital confirmed.

But Ai said in the video that when she retested her eyesight two months after the 29,000 yuan ($ 4,500) operation, the visual acuity in her right eye had dropped to a shockingly low level of 0. , 1, an evaluation of the International Council of Ophthalmology. class as “severe vision loss”.

Ai said she was also diagnosed with retinal detachment – a medical emergency that can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated – on October 23, when she visited the hospital after feeling like her right eye was “covered with a tissue,” she said. video post. But instead of treating her, Ai said, AIER told her to “go back to (her) own hospital for the operation.”

Hours after Ai’s video, Wuhan AIER said in a declaration that their medical procedures met all standards; and that the cataract in the doctor’s eye had warranted surgery. The hospital added that Ai’s preoperative scans showed no warning signs of retinal detachment.

Dissatisfied with this statement, Ai required that the hospital publish the preoperative scans which would have shown a cataract.

“Looking back, I didn’t need to have lens replacement surgery at all. They (AIER Eye Hospital) did not do a thorough retinal check and did the surgery just to replace my lens. … A retinal treatment would probably only have cost a few hundred yuan, ”Ai said in her video.

On Monday, the AIER Eye Hospital released another declaration apologizing for his “inability to meet management standards”, as well as for the eye scans before, during and after Ai’s surgery. The hospital said immediate post-surgical examinations had indeed shown a significant degree of vision improvement (0.2 to 0.6) and that Ai’s severe myopia before surgery was a factor. major risk of retinal detachment.

“Thanks to the verification, the detachment of the retina in Ms. Ai’s right eye was not directly correlated with the cataract operation,” the statement said.

Publisher: Bibek Bhandari.

(Header image: Ai Fen poses for a photo at the hospital where she works as an emergency doctor in Wuhan, Hubei province, 2020. From @ 急诊 室 向日葵 艾芬 on Weibo)

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