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Hospital staff get ready for surgery of COVID-19 positive patients at Rashid Hospital Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Three COVID-19 positive patients underwent life-saving surgery at Rashid Hospital recently and surgeons conducted the surgery under General Anesthesia (GA), efficiently in isolation Operation Theatres, providing full care to the patients as well as the operating team of health care professionals, said a leading Dubai Health Authority (DHA) surgeon.

Among the three, one required an appendectomy, another a splenectomy and the third, a colon cancer patient, required surgery for removal of obstruction in his colon.

COVID-19 screening a must for all emergency patients

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Dr Omar Al Marzouqi, Consultant General Surgeon, specialist in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at Rashid Hospital Image Credit: Supplied

Elaborating on the protocols followed, Dr Omar Al Marzouqi, Consultant General Surgeon, specialist in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery at Rashid Hospital told Gulf News: “These patients came through the emergency ward. We follow a strict pathway to determine if patients might be COVID positive while we triage the patients in emergency. All our staff in emergency wear proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). One of them was showing symptoms of fever and cough, while the other two were asymptomatic. However, as a precaution we tested them for COVID-19 and found them to be positive. All the three surgeries lasted from anything between an hour to three hours.”

In fact, in the case of one patient, the positive result came after the surgery but due to the urgency of the case, he had to be rushed to the operating theatre.

“Even when we operate on suspected COVID-19 cases, we take no chance and follow the complete protocol,” said Dr Marzouqi. “In this case, the patient’s positive result came in later, but we had observe complete rules.”

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Emergency staff at Rashid Hospital conduct surgeries in full Personal Protective Equipment Image Credit: Supplied

Dr Marzouqi said after the positive results of two patients, there was no change in the decision of the surgeons to conduct surgery.

“The only thing was, we had to implement the Dubai Health Authority protocols for COVID-19 here, conduct the surgery in a segregated operating theatre and also take complete care of the surgery team comprising surgeons, anesthetists, operating theatre nurses, paramedics, technicians and other hospital staff.”

COVID-19 positive patient surgeries conducted in isolation Operation Theatres

Dr Ali Khammas, Head of General Surgery at Rashid Hospital said that the department takes special care to keep COVID-19 positive patients totally isolated.

“We are not conducting elective surgeries but in situations like this we go ahead with surgery to save lives and make sure we are not putting other patients at any risk of exposure. All frontline doctors and several nurses and other hospital staff working in shifts at the emergency ward wear elaborate PPE as per protocol; we use a separate operation theatre for COVID-19 patients. Suspected patients are tested and all admissions for surgeries are immediately tested.

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Dr Ali Khamas, head of General Surgery at Rashid Hospital Image Credit: Supplied

“All our doctors are tested for the virus very regularly as per DHA protocols. The general surgery department has adhered to critical changes in order to maximize the readiness of trauma and surgery services and simultaneously maximize the protection of our staff. We want to assure the people that Rashid Hospital has excellent isolation facilities and there is complete segregation and regular patients have no risk of transmission.”

Dr Khammas said, “All healthcare professionals are working tirelessly for community members. I express my thanks and appreciation especially to all frontline health professionals including our heroes in the anesthesia department who are taking on critical roles to support all medical services including surgery. I humbly urge all community members to follow all safety protocols and take necessary precautions to protect against COVID-19.”