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Here, the spotlight is on surgery

Don’t be surprised if along with the discharge summary, doctors at the Safdarjung Sports Injury Centre (SIC) also give you a CD after the surgery. The CD will contain a video recording of your surgery, a practice which is common in the private sector, but a first at a government hospital. Jaya Shroff Bhalla reports.

delhi Updated: May 15, 2012 23:43 IST
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Jaya Shroff Bhalla
Hindustan Times

Don’t be surprised if along with the discharge summary, doctors at the Safdarjung Sports Injury Centre (SIC) also give you a CD after the surgery. The CD will contain a video recording of your surgery, a practice which is common in the private sector, but a first at a government hospital.

Recording surgeries, which is done for free here, allows patients to get a second opinion and also protects doctors against malpractice litigations.

Built in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games 2010, SIC has today become a one-stop hospital for people needing critical joint-repair surgeries and hip and knee replacements.

Last year, the hospital performed over 1,300 joint repairs and 120 joint replacements.

Located within the Safdarjung Hospital campus, this speciality centre offers services at half or one-third the cost charged at most plush, private hospitals. It is also very hi-tech. The entry and exit to the modular operation theatre is sensor-controlled to keep track of those entering and leaving.

“We have an integrated operation theatre that allows the chief surgeon to control all equipment in the OT. He can control the lights, position of the bed, shaver and various other equipment. This is unlike traditional set-ups, where equipment is handed over to the surgeon by OT attendants,” said Dr Deepak Choudhary, director, Sports Injury Centre.

“Video and audio conferencing facility in the OT allows us to record all surgeries as well as relay some critical surgeries to other doctors and students both in India and abroad,” he said.

Physiotherapy facilities

The hospital also offers physiotherapy services for post-operative and rehabilitative care, including massage therapy and hydrotherapy equipment such as sauna, steam, chilled shower and water tank. “We have placed an order for an underwater bike, which is used for the exercise of lower limb joints,” said Ashu Gupta, head, physiotherapy department. A hot magner — a combination of heat vibration and magnetism — is used to give massages to patients with back, neck and other types of pain. Most private hospitals charge about Rs 2,000 per session and in most cases a patient needs at least seven to ten sessions for complete recovery. Here, however, the service is for free. Similarly, at private hospitals, shock wave therapy for shoulder and knee pain costs Rs 500 per session, with a minimum of eight to ten sessions needed.

Easy on the pocket

The centrally air-conditioned rooms at the hospital have remote-controlled electro-hydraulic beds. While Below Poverty Line (BPL) patients are treated free of cost, others have to pay for the cost of implants and medicines. The cost for almost all surgeries -replacements to ligament repairs — is about one-third of that charged by private hospitals. There are no charges for the room or services yet. “We have asked the Centre to allow us to levy a minimal room and surgery charge for general category patients. This will help the institute get funds to maintain standards,” said Dr Choudhary.

Patients elated

Patients are very happy with the treatment. “When my local doctor at Yamuna Vihar referred me here, I postponed coming for almost six months thinking that Safdarjung would be a waste of time. But within a week of arrival, my first surgery was done and since then I have also had another surgery,” said Ravinder K Gupta, 34, who came to SIC with a torn ligament and patella dislocation. He paid Rs 1.08 lakh (the cost of implants) for surgeries that would have cost Rs 3 to Rs 4 lakh at a private hospital.

Case studies:

‘I thought my career was over’

TH Basantha, 24 a Central Reserve Police Force jawan and weight-lifter

Basantha, from Manipur, underwent surgery for a dual ligament tear in his left shoulder and anterior labrum rotator cuff.

When he hurt himself at one of the weight lifting events at the All India Police Camp in 2010, the chief medical officer at CRPF referred him to Safdarjung Sports Injury Centre.

“After the injury, I thought that my career was over. But after two surgeries — one to fix the ligament tears and the other to restore the normal anatomy of shoulder muscles — and rigorous rehabilitation by way of physiotherapy and gymming, I feel confident again,” said Basantha.

“I have regained my strength. No one can point out the broken shoulder,” he said, pulling weights at the in-house gymnasium at SIC.

The same surgery at a private set-up would have cost him R3 lakh or more, but here he paid only Rs 80,000 for the implant costs. According to doctors at SIC, it was a complicated procedure.

‘Now, I feel good about myself’

Shruti, 44 a choreographer from Sukhdev Vihar

Shruti, who goes by her first name only, came to SIC after suffering a tear in the rotator cuff of her shoulder. “I am not sure how the injury happened — maybe a certain posture used in dancing caused it. However it happened, it was very painful. My movement was restricted, and the constant pain in my arm was unbearable,” said Shruti.

“I came here on a friend’s recommendation and I am glad that I did. I am fine and feeling so good about myself. The pain is all gone,” said Shruti, while she exercised her arm. Her ligament was reconstructed on February 21, and since then she has been visiting the hospital for her rehabilitative sessions.

“These post-operative rehabilitative sessions are very important in all ligament and shoulder surgeries. They help the patient regain strength in the affected area,” said Dr Choudhary.

“The doctors here are friendly and ensure that every patient gets due attention,” she said.

First Published: May 15, 2012 23:37 IST