A 45-year-old man’s leg surgery at one of Thane’s biggest super-specialty hospitals was briefly halted after doctors sighted a cockroach moving around in the operating theatre, a place where you expect the highest standards of cleanliness.
Senior orthopaedic surgeon Dr Sanjay Baranwal, who was performing the procedure at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital last Friday, recorded the crawler’s infiltration so he could finally draw the administration’s attention to the poor, and potentially dangerous, conditions in which patients are being treated.
Dr Baranwal had made several complaints about the pest problem last month, but little was done to properly clean and disinfect key facilities such as operation rooms at the Kalwa hospital, which is run by the Thane Municipal Corporation. Senior doctors and staff believe this has already caused serious problems: in the past month, 25 per cent of the patients who underwent a procedure at the hospital have suffered from postoperative infections.
Well-managed medical establishments take great care to ensure a surgery patient doesn’t pick up an infection in the OT. The World Health Organization has laid down protocols for surgical care, which cover disinfection and sterilisation of the equipment and the operating room.
The 500-bed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital, which is attached to Rajiv Gandhi Medical College, has four new modular OTs, which were inaugurated by Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray in 2013. Currently, only one is functional because of a staff shortage.
According to the cleanliness and hygiene guidelines for hospitals, every OT should be washed and fumigated every week. Doctors and other staff Mirror spoke to at the Kalwa hospital said this was not being done. Even after Dr Baranwal sent the video, the OT was not closed for fumigation.
The hospital dean, C Maitra, said scrap material lying in a passage between the OT and an intensive care unit may have attracted pests and it would be cleared soon. But she refused to comment on the presence of a cockroach in the surgery room and disconnected the call. Despite several messages, she did not respond.
He later shared the video with the dean. “I have already submitted the video to the hospital authorities; I can’t comment further,” Dr Baranwal said on Monday.