Lalit Salve's stay inspires intersex ward at St George hospital

Aug 04, 2018, 08:10 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Hospital will soon open a dedicated intersex ward as well as exclusive OPD for genital reconstructive surgery, after Beed constable's stay ushers in more patients for treatment

Lalit Salve's stay inspires intersex ward at St George hospital
Dr Rajat Kapoor, Plastic Surgeon

Thanks to Beed constable Lalit Salve, the St George hospital is taking a huge step towards being more inclusive. In a few months, the government-run hospital will have a first-of-its-kind intersex ward, for patients who want to undergo sex change and genital reconstruction surgeries. In addition to this, it will also soon inaugurate India's first Out Patient Department (OPD), exclusively for reconstructive surgery, which will be operational on Tuesdays, under plastic surgeon Dr Rajat Kapoor, who operated on Salve.

The hospital's experience with Salve is the driving force behind the change. When Salve was first brought to the hospital, they did not know which ward to put him in because of the confusion about his gender. He was then kept in a VIP suite at the hospital's nursing home.

Taking a lesson from this and seeing more patients come for procedures similar to Salve's, the hospital decided to start the intersex ward, the first-of-its-kind in an Indian hospital. It took the decision to start the OPD at a meeting with the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) and senior officials.

Dr Kapoor said, "Since we're getting more patients after Lalit's case, we decided to start an intersex ward for patients like him, so that they don't have to face harassment, or questions on which ward to stay in." Upon being asked if keeping male and female patients in the same ward would be a problem, Dr Kapoor said, "This would be a ward with no gender, as all the patients would be in the phase of transition."

The ward would be initiated after the inauguration of the OPD for genital reconstructive surgery, which will be operational by the end of August. "Patients with genital deformity or underdeveloped complications often feel shy to come out in the open. So, we thought of starting this ward where such patients can come together and have a discussion. This would increase their confidence and make them more comfortable," said Dr Kapoor. The centre would also provide counseling and post-surgery guidance to patients who require genital reconstruction or sex change.

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