For the last two months, around 80 tuberculosis-infected (TB) patients have been waiting for their life-saving surgeries for want of an anaesthesia machine. The civic body’s TB specialty hospital in Sewree had started a tuberculosis (TB) surgery programme last year on March 24, World TB Day.
Despite having no anaesthesia machine, civic officials on Friday announced that the hospital would have a ten-bed intensive care unit ready by July to manage post surgery patients. “The programme was in full swing till the anaesthesia machine borrowed from KEM Hospital had to be returned,” said a source from the hospital.
After hospital authorities pursued the matter with senior civic officials, the hospital received another anesthesia equipment. However, as some parts of the machine were missing, it could not be used, doctors working at the hospital said.
Between 2006 and March 2012, not a single TB surgery has been performed in the hospital. The sudden shutdown of the surgery program has lowered the morale of doctors as well as patients. “We had scheduled many patients for surgery. Now, they keep inquiring about their operations but we don’t have an answer. It’s disheartening to see these patients suffer. They seem to have lost faith in us,” said a doctor from the hospital.
Doctors are also worried about the future of the programme as cardiovascular thoracic surgeons in civic hospitals have shown little interest in getting trained for these surgeries. Civic authorities had asked doctors from KEM, Sion and Nair Hospital to train for these surgeries but none have come forward. “These surgeries are time consuming and tedious; youngsters don’t want to get trained,” said Dr H Bhanushali, former head of surgery and the only doctor who specialises in surgeries on drug-resistant tuberculosis patients. “Since TB patients are poor, these surgeries don’t attract doctors.”