Experts say it is better that patients put off their surgeries in case they are not urgent
HYDERABAD: Patients who clear the Covid-19 test before going for elective surgeries for kidney, liver and cardiac diseases are ending up testing positive in post-operative wards. Their testing positive post surgery is being attributed to their lungs having the typical scarring of Covid-19.
A senior doctor of a private hospital, on condition of anonymity, said, they had had 10 such patients. “In three of these cases, the patient’s lungs turned out to be fully white, which means they were filled with virus. This is worrisome," the doctor said. Similar cases are being reported from other hospitals too.
There is suspicion that this could be hospital-acquired Covid-19. This is because patients, especially in-patients, are exposed to SARS-CoV-2 that is in the hospital for more than two hours, according to a study carried out by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).
While both government and private hospitals have separate pathways for Covid-19 patients, it is worrisome that other patients end up contracting the virus.
A senior infection control specialist, who chose to remain anonymous, said, "These cases are being noted despite our infection control protocols, as the virus movement in the hospital air is high. The other alternative could be that the number of asymptomatic carriers in the public is very high. Contacts of healthcare workers, patient caregivers and family members interact with society, leading to transmission and movement of virus. As immune-compromised are susceptible to virus, they are acquiring it."
Hospitals are finding it difficult to explain this challenge to patients who pick up the infection post surgery. Elective surgeries are finalised on various parameters, including when mere medication is no more effective. Patients have no option but opt for surgery.
"Separate pathways in hospitals require extensive care and extremely strong protocols, which healthcare workers have to follow. In the second Coronavirus wave, it is estimated that every fourth person is a carrier of virus. We are approaching a peak. During this time, it is better that patients put off their surgery in case it is not required urgently," a senior doctor said.
Similarly, senior citizens and other immune-compromised patients must not be called to hospitals for counselling for fear of them contracting virus in the air. They must be provided online consultation for some time to come.
Dr Mustufa Afzal, senior infectious disease specialist at Care Hospitals, said, "In the second wave, those with comorbid conditions are getting serious within 12 to 24 hours. The spike of virus within the body is immediate, and double mutant is a cause for concern."
Dr Ashih Chauhan, senior general physician, said, "Many patients are insisting on hospital admissions when it is not necessary. Trusting your family physician and opting for online consultation is the best way to protect oneself from variants of the virus. Patients panicking only aggravate their situation, as their basic parameters of blood pressures and sugars heighten in such circumstances."