Call to test surgery patients, pregnant women

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Will save health workers and those visiting hospitals from Covid risk

KATHMANDU, MAY 17

Health experts have demanded that pregnant women and patients requiring surgery be tested for the novel coronavirus using polymerase chain reaction method.

The demand follows the death of a 29-year-old woman from Sindhupalchowk district who succumbed to COVID-19 at Dhulikhel Hospital yesterday. The woman had delivered a baby on May 6 at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital and returned home in Barhabise the next day.

“If we can test pregnant women and persons who need to undergo surgery, then we can save health workers and the people visiting hospitals from the risk of infection,”

Rabindra Pandey, public health expert, told THT.

On May 14, more than 40 health professionals, including TUTH doctors, had to be quarantined after a six-year-old girl, who was to undergo surgery in TUTH, tested positive for COVID-19.

“Patients who need to undergo surgery stay comparatively longer at a hospital. Therefore, testing them will prevent infection from spreading among health workers, as well as patients undergoing treatment at the hospital,” said Santosh Paudel, director at National Trauma Centre.

Till yesterday, samples of 101 patients had been collected and tested since National Trauma Centre started conducting tests on April 16. All tested negative.

The centre has been conducting up to 12 surgeries a day. Trauma surgeries, including surgeries of burn victims, plastic surgeries and surgeries for spinal injuries are carried out daily in the hospital.

Health experts are also worried about pregnant women contracting COVID-19. “If pregnant women are tested for COVID, we can treat them on time and save their lives,” said Pandey.

“Testing pregnant women is necessary. But delivery can’t wait until report of PCR test is out.

However, for those who come from coronavirus hotspots or are in contact with COVID-19 patients, rapid diagnostic tests can help in immediate diagnosis,” said Jageshwor Gautam, director, Paropakar Maternity and Women’s Hospital. Up to 60 women deliver babies daily in the hospital.

“Testing can help in early detection of the infection. Patients can then be isolated and treated on time. It will help us save lives, ensure safety of health workers and boost their confidence,” said Paudel.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 18, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.


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