The medical fraternity has been witnessing an interesting trend during Diwali as several patients — mainly office-goers and students — choose to undergo planned routine surgeries and diagnostic tests during the break. While the rush at the out-patient departments (OPDs) at smaller clinics dissipates considerably, the occupancy rate at large hospitals doesn’t fall too much.
“There has not been a rush of patients at hospitals, but we have observed that the hospital wards are not exactly deserted. Patients with H1N1 virus infection, dengue fever and others have been admitted to hospitals,” said Bomi Bhote, CEO of Ruby Hall Clinic. At Jehangir Hospital, a couple of surgeries were performed on Diwali, said CEO George Eapen. “We are doing regular work and it does not feel like a holiday,” he said.
Dr Dasmit Singh, paediatric surgeon at Jehangir hospital and Surya Mother and Child Care Hospital, said many office-goers use the Diwali break to undertake planned surgeries like hernia operations. Schoolchildren and college students, who also get a vacation, are often admitted for two to three days for minor surgical procedures, said Singh. “Earlier, during Diwali, we used to treat minor cases of burn injuries, but over the years, there has been a significant drop in the number of patients,” he added. “During Diwali, we operated on a 17-year-old who had a congenital birth defect. There are one or two patients who undergo planned surgeries,” said Singh.
Cancer surgeon Dr Kamlesh Bokil also said he has seen an increase in the number of routine planned surgeries during Diwali in the last few years. “I have been performing at least one major scheduled cancer surgery daily during the Diwali period. There are other routine procedures that are also being performed,” said Bokil.
At Sancheti Hospital, chief spine surgeon Dr Ketan Khurjekar said apart from emergency surgeries, professionals from the IT sector used this break to schedule surgeries related to back and knee pain.
Dr Sunil Tolat, a consulting dermatologist at Jehangir hospital, said the OPD had seen a fair share of patients. At Ruby Hall Clinic, two planned C-sections and an emergency operation had been performed on Dhanteras, said Dr Sunita Tandulwadkar, chief IVF consultant and endoscopist. The other Diwali days were also packed with work, she said.
The trend of regular work and surgeries even during Diwali is, however, usually restricted to large hospitals, said general practitioner and former chief of the Indian Medical Association, Dr Avinash Bhondwe. “ A section of the public considers it inauspicious to undergo treatment on Diwali days, unless it is an emergency. Most smaller clinics are shut and doctors give advice over the phone,” said Bhondwe.