Vinay Damodaran, 22, was always queasy when stepping into a hospital. However, in April, when he injured his right shoulder in a badminton tournament at his office, he was sure that he had landed himself at least a few days’ stay in a hospital.
“I was expecting a long hospitalisation as the fall dislocated my right shoulder,” said Damodaran, a Chembur resident. Sensing Damodaran’s discomfort, his family doctor informed him about the concept of day-care surgeries. “The doctor told me that I had an option to return home within a day of the surgery and I instantly liked the idea,” said Damodaran, who works with an international accounting and consulting firm.
He underwent shoulder arthroscopy, a keyhole procedure, and was discharged the same day with post-operation care instructions. “It’s better than occupying a hospital bed for days and paying hefty bills,” said Damodaran, who underwent the procedure at Nova Medical Centre at Deonar.
The popularity of the express surgery and discharge is spurring the growth of centres providing day-care surgeries. The Deonar multi-speciality day-care centre, where Damodaran was treated, opened in April.
Day-care surgery is a procedure done on a fit patient who can be discharged in a day. Surgeries that don't require extensive monitoring but only few hours of post-operative monitoring such as hernia, piles, cataracts and liposuction are done as day-care procedures.
When Devendra Mehta, 51, a chartered accountant, suffered from a large abscess in his back, he was apprehensive about having to miss work. “I was advised immediate hospitalisation, investigation and surgery the following day. Staying in a hospital for long was not possible,” said the Mahim resident. “I was told that the cost would be more than Rs 15,000.”
This is when Mehta thought of trying day-care treatment. “I returned to office the same day after the surgery and the cost was much less,” said Mehta, who took the treatment at One Day Surgery Centre at Babulnath. So impressed was Mehta that he decided to take his son to the centre for his hernia operation.
“The number of people coming to the centre for day-care procedures has tripled in the last three years,” said Dr T Naresh Row, director of One Day Surgery Centre and founder and president of The Indian Association of Day Surgery.
In 2008, when the centre opened, 572 patients opted for day-care procedures. In 2009, there were 1,009 such surgeries. Last year, the figure reached 1,385.
With two major standalone multi-speciality day-care surgery centres opening in the city in the last three years, a few hospitals have jumped onto the bandwagon. PD Hinduja Hospital at Mahim set up a 19-bed short-stay centre in 2009 and has seen a 25% rise in occupancy. “Such a service ensures a shorter stay for the patient in hospital, which reduces expenses. For a hospital, it ensures quick turnover of hospital beds and more patients treated in the same bed,” said Joy Chakraborty, director (administration), Hinduja Hospital.
According to Row, with the escalating cost of surgical treatment, there is a constant search for high-quality affordable surgeries, with the added benefit of early return to work. This is where day-care surgery comes in. “It bridges the gap between expensive cardiac and joint replacement surgeries and minor procedures such as endoscopies, by catering to a wide gamut of more than 250 procedures, without overnight hospitalisation.”
Some insurance firms have started reimbursing the cost without the mandatory 24-hour hospitalisation.