Over one lakh patients in Lucknow are in the queue for surgeries as the non-Covid services open up.
A huge backlog of surgeries has built up in the pandemic when most hospital closed down for surgeries and only emergency operations were carried out.
A senior faculty member at the King George Medical University (KGMU), disclosed, “There is a backlog of about 45,000 surgeries in KGMU alone. There are surgeries related to gall bladder problems, intestinal issues, tumours, corrective surgeries and even orthopaedic surgeries that had been put on hold due to the Covid pandemic.”
More of these are elective surgeries that are planned in advance and have no emergency requirement.
Doctors agree that some surgeries, if postponed beyond a point, could prove fatal for the patient.
According to official estimates, the three major government hospitals- King George’s Medical University (KGMU), Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences (RMLIMS) and SPM Civil hospital-used to conduct an average of 300 surgeries in a day before the second wave of the pandemic set in.
Meenu Sharma, 50 has been waiting in the queue since December 2019 for removal of stones in her gall bladder.
“Earlier, there was a long waiting, then a private ward was not available and finally, the pandemic set in. I do not know how long I will have to wait for surgery. I get severe pangs of pain but I have no choice but to bear it,” she said.
Meenu is presently recovering from Covid and does not know if this will further delay her surgery.
When the second wave of the pandemic intensified in April, majority of the hospital restricted surgeries, except in emergency cases and accidents.
“Besides having a shortage of staff, there is also the increased risk of infection for the patient in the pandemic,” said the faculty member.
KGMU Vice Chancellor, Lt Gen Bipin Puri, said: “We will reschedule surgeries on priority to manage the rush after the second wave subsides and normal functioning starts. Patients with complicated issues will be operated first. We are already working on plans to execute maximum possible surgeries without compromising the efficiency.”
S.K. Nanda, Chief Medical Superintendent of Civil hospital, said, “We have a plan to extend operation timings, post-lockdown, to address the issue of backlog.”
RMLIMS spokesperson Srikesh Singh said, “We are in touch with patients and those whose ailments are in advance stages, will be operated on priority once surgeries begin in full swing.”