Coronavirus: Patients relieved as elective surgeries resumed in Dubai

A circular in this matter was issued to all DHA-licensed hospitals and day surgical centres on May 26

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Dermatologist giving thermage treatment to mature woman's forehead to soften wrinkles.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Dermatologist giving thermage treatment to mature woman's forehead to soften wrinkles.

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Patients awaiting semi-urgent surgical procedures have welcomed the Dubai Health Authority's (DHA) decision to resume them.

In alignment with the gradual resumption of various economic activities in Dubai, the DHA announced its decision to resume elective surgical procedures conducted under general anaesthesia for all medical specialities.

A circular in this matter was issued to all DHA-licensed hospitals and day surgical centres on May 26, a copy of which Khaleej Times has studied. The operation time should not exceed two-and-a-half hours, said the DHA.

However, surgical operations may be performed regardless of their duration if they are emergency surgeries that require immediate surgical intervention, and urgent surgeries for cases where the patient has pain that necessitates surgical intervention.

Patients' anxiety eased

Egyptian national Omar Ibrahim Mahmoud suffers from gastrointestinal perforation and has been putting off his surgery for over a month now. Finally, after a medical check-up at Medeor Hospital in Dubai on Thursday, he said he would undergo the procedure next week.

"I was told a month ago that I need surgery. However, due to the pandemic, it was postponed. Doctors have said I have three holes in my stomach, so it is best I have surgery as soon as possible. Now, I am waiting for insurance approval. It is certainly a relief," said Mahmoud.

Sheeba Nair, an Indian expat waiting to undergo a surgery for her sciatic pain, said: "I have been putting this surgery off for months. However, now, due to the restricions, I have not had much exercise of physiotherapy. Now, surgery is the only way out."

Procedures that can be done

Michael Davis, CEO of NMC Health Plc, said: "Opening up surgery will be welcomed by anxious patients who waited for weeks for procedures that were important.

"Hernia repair, cancer operations, knee replacements, IVF treatment and even a staged cosmetic surgery are among the wide range of elective surgeries that come with varying degrees of complexity and urgency," he added.

"From a patient's perspective, it's super frustrating, knowing that their surgery is needed and because of where we are in the world right now with the coronavirus, everything is at a halt."

"From an industry point of view, shutting down elective surgeries had led to layoffs, furloughs and pay cuts across the healthcare sector. After weeks of delays, hospitals and surgery centres face mounting financial pressure and a backlog of patients."

Dr Shajir Gaffar, CEO VPS Healthcare, Dubai and the Northern Emirates, explained: "We will resume all kinds of surgeries. Notwithstanding the pandemic situation, emergency procedures were performed.

"About two weeks ago, we resumed treating semi-urgent cases as well," he added.

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