The growing number of cases of fever and malaria has drastically impacted surgical procedures, which are down by 50 to 70% this season. The main reason is the shortage of beds in hospitals, doctors say.
As per hospital statistics, 15,004 patients have been admitted for fever and another 5,559 for malaria in August alone.
“Hospitals are so overcrowded with malaria, dengue and fever patients that getting a bed is almost impossible,” admitted Dr Ashok Rane, general practitioner, who said he has had to put in a word and send a referral letter for several of his patients.
“Normally, patients opting for surgery comprise 75% of our load. But this season, 75% of our in-patients are suffering from fever, malaria and other rain related illnesses,” said a spokesperson for Fortis Hospitals.
Another reason for the number of surgical procedures coming
down is that surgeons themselves are urging patients to postpone the date of elective surgeries. “There is a high possibility of nosocomial infections or hospital-acquired infections. It is advisable not to opt for surgery when there is an epidemic-like situation in the city,” pointed out Dr SN Acharya, another general practitioner.
Hospital-acquired infections — believed to cause complications between 3.5% and 16.6% patients worldwide — lead to urinary tract infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia and central line-related blood infections. Hence, major surgeries such as total knee replacement surgery, bariatric surgery, and heart surgery which is not urgently required, should be postponed, advised a surgeon from Hinduja Hospital.
“In fact, surgical wounds, which would be a part of any invasive procedure, are quite vulnerable hospital-acquired infections — so any type of surgery which is not an emergency should be avoided,” he added.
“There has been an almost 70% drop in surgeries, admitted Dr Tushar Agrawal, orthopaedic surgeon, Bombay Hospital. “However, hospital-acquired infections are overrated. The real reason for the drop in surgeries is the fear psychosis among patients, which is very high.” he said.