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Pathankot: No paediatric expertise available due to lockdown, Army doctors perform life-saving surgery on day-old baby

Doctors at the Pathankot Military Hospital performed the emergency lifesaving operation on the newborn baby as it was not feasible to take the baby to the nearest medical facility in Chandimandir with requisite expertise.

Written by Man Aman Singh Chhina | Chandigarh | Updated: April 26, 2020 9:26:18 am
Pathankot, Pathankot Military Hospital, Pathankot Baby Team of doctors and nurses at Military Hospital Pathankot with the new born baby and the mother. (Express Photo)

Doctors at Military Hospital in Punjab’s Pathankot had to perform a complicated surgery on a one-day-old baby with rare congenital anomaly of intestines without a pediatrician or neonatal expert as they could not arrange one due to restrictions in place because of the nationwide lockdown in view of COVID-19 outbreak.

A defence spokesperson said that it was not feasible to take the baby to the nearest medical facility at Chandimandir, where the requisite expertise was available.

The baby, born out of a caesarian section last week, was suspected to have Hirschsprung’s Disease (a rare congenital anomaly of the intestines). A prompt diagnosis was made but the condition of the baby was critical and he was not fit for transfer to the nearest pediatric surgery centre at Command Hospital, Western Command, Chandimandir, which is six hours drive by road.

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Due to COVID-19 lockdown there was no pediatric surgeon available at the civil hospitals in Pathankot.

Major Adil Abdul Kalam, surgical specialist at Military Hospital, performed the operation on the new-born who was on a ventilator. Army doctors claim that this is for the first time in the Armed Forces Medical Services wherein such an intricate operation on a newborn was done at a zonal hospital with no peadiatric surgeon, paediatric anesthesiologist or neonatologist available.

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“The operation was performed in emergency which even if delayed by a few minutes could have resulted in exacerbation of multi organ failure, leading to death,” Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand said in a statement. “It was an extremely challenging and stressful task to manage the case successfully despite absence of super specialty facilities”.

The baby has now now been taken off the ventilator and is on the way to a healthy recovery.

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