Delhi govt cancels all elective surgeries until further notice

Updated on Mar 21, 2020 01:00 AM IST

The decision was taken after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with medical superintendents of all hospitals.

As on Friday, India has recorded 236 coronavirus cases and four deaths.(ANI)
As on Friday, India has recorded 236 coronavirus cases and four deaths.(ANI)
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

Delhi government Friday suspended all non-emergency surgeries at its 37 hospitals until further notice, to brace for a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases.

As on Friday, India has recorded 236 Covid-19 cases and four deaths.

The decision was taken after chief minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with medical superintendents of all hospitals. An order issued by the Delhi government’s health department said, “All hospitals should suspend non-essential elective surgery for the time being to ensure bed availability for Covid-19 patients.”

While Lok Nayak hospital is under the Delhi government, central hospitals such as the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital have also cancelled all non-emergency surgeries until further notice.

The AIIMS order to this effect came Friday, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged people to not visit hospitals for routine check-ups and to postpone elective surgeries.

Modi, in his address to the nation Thursday, said, “When necessary, you could get the required guidance over phone from your known local doctor, family doctor, or some relative who is a doctor. In case you have a non-essential, elective surgery scheduled, I would urge you to postpone it by a month.”

AIIMS performs around 100 routine surgeries daily , with the waiting period for surgeries varying from a month to a year.

Safdarjung hospital, across the street from AIIMS, performs at least 50 surgeries daily. The hospital cancelled all non-emergency surgeries two days ago and the out-patient clinics were restricted from Thursday. The hospital cut the registration time for clinics by 1.5 hours and closed its geriatric out-patient unit.

At central Delhi’s Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital, the OPDs and surgeries haven’t been cancelled or curtailed but announcements are being made asking people not to come to the hospital unless it’s an emergency.

“The doctors are giving dates with longer gaps for follow-ups. We are making announcements in the OPD asking people not to come to the hospital unless absolutely necessary. This has resulted in a decline in the number of patients over the week,” a hospital official, on condition of anonymity, said.

Safdarjung Hospital and RML hospitals are the nodal centres for treatment of Covid-19 in the capital.

The rush at the out-patient clinics of these major hospitals nearly halved Friday. At AIIMS, the out-patient clinics attended to just over 5,800 people Friday, almost half the number they saw last Friday.

Sharda Devi (57), who had accompanied her son Santosh to the hospital, said she had heard the PM’s address but it was necessary for them to come. “I know what he said yesterday, but my son is scheduled for a dialysis. So we had to come even though we are scared,” Devi, who like her son, was wearing a mask, said.

Ganesh Shah (64) bought a mask outside the hospital. “I had covered my face with a gamcha (towel) in the morning. Then I found a guy selling masks and bought one. Now I will wear it at home too. What if this infection reaches Bihar,” Shah, who travelled from Patna for his appointment, said.

On Wednesday, the AIIMS started sending messages to patients with appointments for the next one month saying, “In view of the increasing threat of corona infection, you are requested to postpone your appointment at AIIMS if it is not urgent in nature. This is for your safety and good health.”

One of the staff members at the medicine clinic said, “There has been a decline in the number of patients over the past two days. Today, the crowd has reduced by almost half. This place is usually packed till 2pm.”

At Lok Nayak emergency, lines have been drawn on the floor to ensure that people queue up at a distance of six feet from one another to prevent them spreading or contracting Covid-19.

Satendra Singh (62) had travelled from South East Delhi’s Jaitpur to Safdarjung to get his swollen leg checked Friday. “Today, there were only seven other people in the queue ahead of me, usually it is full,” he said.

Ajay Kumar, another visitor to Safdarjung, said, “I heard the PM. I wouldn’t have come, but my gall stone surgery was scheduled for Friday. I called the helpline number to check if the date will be changed, but no one answered so I came with my parents to check. Now, they have said we are to return in three weeks to get a new date. They asked me to check the news on Covid-19 before coming back,” he said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Anonna Dutt is a health reporter at Hindustan Times. She reports on Delhi government’s health policies, hospitals in Delhi, and health-related feature stories.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Thursday, October 06, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals