With the lifting of the ban on non-urgent elective surgeries in Dubai, hospitals are now seeing a rush in appointments for surgical procedures in all disciplines, including dental and cosmetic procedures.
Dr Sherbaz Bichu, CEO at Aster Hospitals and Aster Clinics (UAE) and specialist anesthetist, said the group had planned to clear the back-log in the next few weeks. “We have around 700 patients in the back log for non-urgent elective surgeries, including different specialisations such as ENT, sports and general surgeries. It is not a very huge back log and with our surgeons running a packed schedule to handle such surgeries, we are hoping to ease this in the next 15 days or so, ” Dr Bichu said.
“We are prioritizing these surgeries after discussing the urgency of the matter with the patients and all procedures are being conducted in a streamlined manner. Most of the patients had planned these surgeries during lockdown and before, so now, based on each case, we are applying for their insurance approval and conducting the surgery as and when the approval comes,” he added.
At Medcare Hospitals, surgeons are looking at a waiting list of around 500 patients requiring a variety of procedures. Dr. Shanila Laiju , CEO at Medcare Hospitals, said: “Specialities of ENT, general surgery, bariatric surgery, along with plastic surgery have restarted. Patients waiting for tonsillectomy, septoplasty and rhinoplasty have also started scheduling for their procedure. Since a number of people have put on weight by staying at home and eating non-healthy stuff, we have a big number of patients in line for obesity and bariatric surgery for weight loss as well as procedures for metabolic syndrome. Since such patients have waited long they are at an increased risk of associated morbidities and hence we have to take care of a huge waiting list soon in order to avoid any complications.”
To handle cases swiftly, the hospital group has also increased manpower to handle more cases in a day. Dr Laiju said: “We prioritise patients on the basis of who needs the procedure or surgery urgently, and to handle this we also have stepped up our operation room capacity in terms of manpower and resources to take care of at least 15 to 20 surgeries a day, working six days a week .”
She added: “My advice to patients seeking elective surgery is to get the surgery done only if essential. If some procedures can wait few months then let others who need it urgently get it done. Also here is a word of caution for former Covid patients, according to various studies and scientific evidence, if you were Covid positive you should not undergo an elective surgery for atleast seven weeks because the complications can be severe if done earlier.”
Although non-urgent procedures have started, hospitals stated that they will abide by the bed occupancy percentage and preserve inpatient and Intensive Care Unit beds for COVID-19 patients wherever necessary as per the DHA requirement.
Dr Nayzak Raoof, medical director at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery, Dubai, added that most of the cases at the hospital are related to sports injuries. “These cases require sort of reconstructive surgery for ligament injuries, meniscal injuries and also joint replacement surgeries. To make sure all Covid guidelines are in place, we are taking utmost precautions and are testing all patients going for elective surgeries within 48 hours before the surgery date.
“We are blessed by the fact that we are living in one of the best countries in the world that managed to contain the pandemic in addition to leading almost a normal life. The availability of medical services in Dubai is adequate to prevent piling up of cases and currently there are enough number of beds that can cope with both the pandemic and the elective needs at the same time. The decision to operate or not was put in the hands of the treating surgeon. Surgeons were previously also allowed to operate on any patient who required urgent surgery. As a result of that the pile up of cases is reasonable and can be dealt with,” Raoof added.
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