Lok Nayak to shut four unsafe OTs at general surgery departmentUpdated: Nov 09, 2019 00:00 IST
Delhi government’s biggest tertiary care hospital, Lok Nayak, has announced that four operation theatres (OTs) for planned general surgeries would be shut from December 1 in “public interest” because they lacked basic equipment and were unsafe for surgery.
Every day, 16 to 20 major surgeries are done in three OTs and one has been unused for at least two years because it has no technicians.
“It is highly unsafe to operate in the operation theatres as these are lacking in basic essential items. As such, this office is left with no option but to order the closure of operation theatre A, B, C, and D with effect from December 1, 2019, in public interest,” read an office order by the head of the department of surgery Dr Pawanindra Lal.
Shutting down the OTs will increase the waiting period for patients in need of life-saving surgeries of the oesophagus, stomach, intestines, liver, and pancreas among others. At present, the waiting period of some of these surgeries extend to up to one year.
The hospital has a total of 18 operation theatres in all, which are used for surgeries of other departments such as neurosurgery, orthopaedic, paediatric, gynaecology, and ENT.
Sanjeev Khirwar, principal secretary, health department, however, said there would be no crisis. “The procurements will be done, or at least the orders will be placed, before December 1. There is no need to worry it will not be a crisis,” Khirwar said.
Since Lok Nayak hospital is attached to Maulana Azad Medical College, which admits 250 MBBS students each year, students training for surgery will also lose out. It is also the only Delhi government hospital that runs a two-year fellowship programme for minimal access surgery and performs bariatric surgery for severely obese patients.
About 2,000 minimal access surgeries, which reduce the recovery time in patients, are done every year.
To continue operating, the surgery department needs OT lights, two OT tables that can bear heavier weights, 12 patient transfer trolleys, 10 beds for post-operative ward, and four laparoscopic sets immediately.
The department has been requesting for equipment since June last year and managing with one laparoscopic set owned by the hospital and one demo set lent out by companies manufacturing the equipment for the past 18 months.
“We have been managing somehow despite a shortage of staff and faculty. The mechanisms of hospital beds in post-op are broken and boxes are used to prop them up. Surgeons have to operate under dimmer floor lights, trolleys with wheels missing are being used. Plus, the OT tables and trolleys in use are not meant to be used for overweight patients, making it extremely risky,” said a doctor from the department, on condition of anonymity.
“Actions to address the issues raised in the order have already begun. The procurement officer has also been directed to expedite the process and ensure that it gets done before December 1 so that patient services do not get affected,” said Dr Kishore Singh, medical director of the hospital.
Apart from the acute deficiencies, a letter from the department head to the medical director also says there is a continuous shortage of faculty and staff, with only 11 of the 24 faculty posts and two of the five non-teaching specialist posts remaining vacant. There is a severe shortage of technicians and a shortfall in the number of OTs.
“There are just four OTs, instead of the eight OTs the hospital needs for the 48 PG students and 24 senior residents in the department as per MCI (Medical Council of India) guidelines,” said another doctor.