Covid patients with black fungus refused surgery at PGIMS
Coronavirus patients who have contracted the deadly black fungus infection are being refused surgery until they test negative for the virus at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (PGIMS), Rohtak, family members of the said patients have alleged.
Many patients have had to shift out of the hospital to seek surgical intervention to stop the spread of the fungal infection, which experts say is “deadlier” than the virus. One such patient, a 62-year-old retired government teacher, a resident of Bhiwani, was shifted to PGIMS from a private hospital in Hisar after he developed mucormycosis. However, after doctors refused to operate on him, he had to be moved to a private hospital in Rohtak on June 9, his wife said.
The ear, nose, throat (ENT) specialist, who finally operated on the teacher, on condition of anonymity said, “The patient will be put on Amphotericin B for 10 days. If the infection spreads further, he will need another surgery. It is risky to operate on Covid positive patients.”
The family of another patient, who is in his 40s and had contracted the dual infections, had to run from piller to post for his surgery. “Doctors of both private and government hospitals refused to operate on him. The doctors told us that they cannot put their lives at risk while treating a black fungus patient who has Covid. An ENT specialist has performed his surgery but his health remains poor,” a family members said.
PGIMS medical superintendent Dr Pushpa Dahiya, said surgery of black fungus patients, who have Covid complications is not being conducted as they are not fit to be administered anesthesia.
“Operating on such patients is risky. In most cases the fungal infection spreads at a slow rate and we conduct the surgery, once the patient has recovered. We have conducted 133 surgeries till June 9, of which six deaths were reported due to mucormycosis and 20 deaths due to Covid complications in patients who were also suffering from black fungus. There is also shortage of Amphotericin B drug,” she added.
Dr Aditya Bhargava, head of ENT department at PGIMS refused to comment saying that he was not authorised to speak on the matter.
A senior doctor at PGIMS, requesting anonymity, said there is no rule that black fungus patients with covid complications will not be operated on. “If the infection spreads and the patient loses his vision or develops other problems, who will be responsible. The surgery cannot be delayed on the pretext of it being risky or chances of doctors contracting the infection,” he said.