Tamil Nadu: Govt hospital wards off trauma while stitching health with care

Patients undergoing accidental fracture surgery receive six-hour (golden hour) surgeries, thanks to advanced technology and a dedicated team of doctors.
Tamil Nadu: Govt hospital wards off trauma while stitching health with care

COIMBATORE : Mohankumar was being wheeled down the hallway when the native of Telungupalayam kept gazing at the portraits of leaders, positive quotes, and interpretations of the Thirukkural that adorned the walls. The 33-year-old, who was diagnosed with a Bilateral Avascular Necrosis hip, snapped out of his trance only after he was hurtled into the operation theatre, where he later underwent a bilateral total hip replacement surgery.

Having spent four months in the Institute of Orthopedics and Traumatology ward, Mohankumar says his recovery was king size. “We have never seen such facilities in a government hospital. I had to spend most of my time in bed because I had difficulty sitting up. The hospital provided me with an alpha bed. This is not available even at private hospitals. Both treatment and the hospital’s ambience aided my fast recovery,” he said.

Located on the Coimbatore Government Medical College Hospital (CMCH) campus, the orthopedics and traumatology department on the first floor offers a distinct environment, where the exterior and the facilities are designed to impress. Creating an impression is the last thing that people expect from government hospitals, quips institute Director Dr S Vetrivel Chezhian, and the show-runner of the department. The idea of revamping the space struck the doctor in 2019.

Apart from the facilities of government hospitals, the department now offers post-operative wards with air conditioning, TV and radio for entertainment, isolation curtains, and alpha beds. All these facilities are free for the economically disadvantaged groups. The facilities are aimed at giving patients the feel of a private hospital at the same price, or even free, says the doctor, adding that patients are also offered new clothes upon admission.

“For the patient’s attendants, separate bed is provided alongside the patient’s bed. The motorised alpha beds are provided to prevent bed sores for those who need to stay in bed for days. Additionally, all four wards are equipped with hot and purified drinking water facilities,” adds Dr Chezhian. There are four wards with a total of 120 beds. Isolation curtains have been installed for every bed.

The department pays special attention to patients without attendants. Two staff members clad in different uniforms are allotted to such patients. “If they are destitute, but have someone to take care of them, they gain mental strength and recover quickly. Here, the staff takes care of everything from cleaning to feeding them,” says M Arun Kumar, PG final year student of the department.

The department also strives to provide swift treatment compared to private hospitals. Patients undergoing accidental fracture surgery receive six-hour (golden hour) surgeries, thanks to advanced technology and a dedicated team of doctors.

“We have a specialised orthopaedic operation theatre with state-of-the-art implants. In Coimbatore, we record a high number of two wheeler accidents resulting in leg bone fractures. Closed fractures are promptly treated with internal fixators, open fractures are carefully fixed with external fixators after proper alignment. With our up-to-date technology and a team of 34 doctors, we aim to provide round-the-clock treatment, ensuring patients from places like Dindigul, Mysore, and Kerala, have access to reliable care,” says Chezhian.


Dr S Vetrivel Chezian, director of the orthopaedic department at CMCH, distributing diapers and clothes to patients without attendants | S Senbagapandiyan
Dr S Vetrivel Chezian, director of the orthopaedic department at CMCH, distributing diapers and clothes to patients without attendants | S Senbagapandiyan

Emphasising their dedication to the ‘golden hour’ treatment procedure, which forms a key part of the Tamil Nadu Accident and Emergency Care Initiative (TAEI), since 2017, Chezhian explains, “Earlier, we noticed several private ambulances roaming outside the CMCH and taking patients to private hospitals if there was a delay in treating fractures. But the golden hour treatment put an end to that practice. Now, we complete an operation in the emergency ward shortly after the patient gets into the hospital. The patient does not need to get pre-operative admission at the ortho ward. They would be shifted to the ortho ward after the surgery.”

“Here, anaesthetists visit patients. When blood investigation results, operation theatre, and implants are available, why do we wait for surgeries? Hence, we use the device ‘C-Arm with Image intensifier’ which plays a crucial role in visualising bones, joints, and soft tissues in real-time. We can complete the process within a few hours,” he adds.

The immediate surgeries, the doctor says, prevent amputation. “We are achieving in providing early mobility to patients. If there is any need for a skin cover, the patient will be immediately sent for plastic surgery. Both departments work together. Besides, in medical education the department encourages students to learn with a cadaver which provides a hands-on experience of anatomy,” he said.

“Under the Chief Minister Health Insurance Scheme (CMHIS), the department receives a share in every surgery, which helps in hiring staff and care for patients without attendants. We also provide good clothes to poor patients. New clothes, diapers, and bedding items are stocked up. The speciality of this ward is that patients do not need to spend on any other necessity, other than their treatment,” says Dr Chezhian. The department is also aided by individuals or prior patients.

(Edited by Shrija Ganguly)

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