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Day surgeries: Future of healthcare

mumbai Updated: Jan 24, 2010 01:20 IST
Neha Bhayana

Kalbadevi resident Ankush Jadhav had to undergo a major piles surgery for which he needed to be hospitalised for two days. Jadhav, who earns Rs 3,000 a month, could not afford the charges.

He underwent the procedure at One Day Surgery Centre, Chowpatty and was discharged the same evening with instructions for post-operation care. “It cost me Rs 15,000 and I am feeling fine,” said Jadhav.

Like Jadhav, more than half of the patients going for day surgeries do so for economic reasons. Hospital bills are down to nearly half. Insurance firms too now reimburse the cost without the mandatory 24-hour hospitalisation.

“Royal Sundaram was the first to cover day surgeries two years ago,” said Dr T. Naresh Row, founder of the Indian Association of Day Surgery in 2005. “Now, most companies also do.”

Day surgeries could also solve the problem of hospital bed shortage. Mumbai has 1 bed for every 3,000 people, as against the ideal 1:550 ratio.

This was one reason Hinduja Hospital set up the 19-bed Short Stay Service centre with two operation theatres. “Many seriously-ill patients are referred to hospitals like Hinduja but finding an unoccupied bed is difficult,” said head of general surgery Dr Vinod Chandiramani.

Senior doctors say day care surgery is the “future of healthcare”. “Public hospitals too will be able to make better use of existing health infrastructure if patients’ hospital stay is reduced,” said KEM Hospital Dean Dr Sanjay Oak.

Senior surgeons, however, say not all cases merit day surgeries. “For super major surgeries and emergencies where there can be excess blood loss, one has to insist on the patient staying in hospital,” said laproscopic surgeon Dr Abhijeet Joshi from Hiranandani Hospital.

Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Sanjay Agarwala warned against going to small or ill-equipped nursing homes for day surgery. “If there is any complication, the surgeon should be able to prolong the patient’s stay or shift him to the intensive care unit immediately,” he said.