Mumbai: State-of-the-art operation theatre at Cooper hospital unused for 3 years

Updated: Dec 27, 2018, 13:05 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon

Neurosurgical operation theatre not been used for last three years because of staff shortage

Mumbai: State-of-the-art operation theatre at Cooper hospital unused for 3 years
The OT is located on the third floor of the new building, and has all the facilities required to carry out any supra major neurosurgical procedure

For the last three years, a state-of-the-art neurosurgical operation theatre (OT) is lying locked and unused at the HBT medical college and Dr RN Cooper Municipal medical college and general hospital in Vile Parle, because no class 3 and 4 staffers, who make up the support team, are available to assist neurosurgeons.

The OT is located on the third floor of the new building, and according to hospital sources, has all facilities required to carry out any supra major neurosurgical procedure, with an attached post-operative area. In addition the space, the high-end equipment — worth approximately R7 crore — in it are also not being utilised, with only the microscope and a drill for opening the skull being used whenever needed by being moved to the ENT or general OT.

Infectious concerns
Due to this stalled functioning, neurosurgeons are able to conduct only three to four surgeries a week by sharing an ENT or general OT. Emergency trauma cases are taken up within the trauma centre. However, sharing OTs in this manner can be highly risky during brain surgery as the chances of infection increase. As of now, the OTs have to be fumigated and utmost care is taken to avoid infections during surgery.

When mid-day contacted Dr Alok Sharma, professor and HOD of the college's neurosurgery department to find out about the non-functional neuro OT, he said while he has been shown as the head of department at Cooper since 2015, the neurosurgery was handled by assistant professor Dr Shradha Maheshwari and Dr Shashank Joshi. mid-day contacted Dr Joshi who confirmed the OT situation, but said he was not authorised to make any comment.

Dr Maheshwari said, "The inflow of patients at Cooper for neurosurgical reference has gone up by nearly 100 per cent and we're catering to patients at par with KEM, Nair and Sion hospital, though the number of neuro surgerical cases may not be similar in comparison to them." When asked if the non-availability of the neuro OT hampers their working, she replied in the affirmative, stating, "A full-fledged neuro OT set up is any day better than using makeshift arrangements, where chances of infection are always high."

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The other side
Dean of HBT Medical College and Dr R N Cooper Municipal Medical College Dr Ganesh Shinde said, "We have written to the civic administration requesting them to provide additional manpower, especially support staff, but the request is still pending. "We are hopeful that in 2019 we will be able to get the required support and assistance to ensure we're able to provide optimum quality services to patients," said Dr Shinde. Attempts to contact Idzes Kundan, additional municipal commissioner (health) did not yield any result.

Expert says
Dr Ketan Vagholkar, professor, said, "Certain super specialty branches like neurosurgery, cardiac surgery and orthopaedic surgery require an independent and isolated operation theatre, as they cannot afford to have an infection in the operating rooms. Also, supporting staff is a very important factor in the successful functioning of any specialty OT. It is the sole responsibility of the BMC's health officials to ensure the appointment of adequately qualified supporting staff to run these special OT's."

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