Post-operative patients exposed to hot weather

Sweltering hospital wards in Karachi worsen post-surgery recovery, causing discomfort and health complications

Tufail Ahmed June 16, 2024
Civil Hospital Karachi: PHOTO


For any patient entering the recovery phase after a surgery, comfort and care are indispensable for helping them steadily return to their normal routine yet for countless post-operative patients stuck in the sizzling general wards of public hospitals, the lingering pain of surgery is only extended by the sweltering weather.

One such patient was Rukhsana, who was recovering after a gynaecological surgery at the Lyari Hospital. "After the surgery, I was admitted to the general ward of the hospital, which had no cooling arrangements in place. Staying in public hospitals during summers is almost unbearable," said Rukhsana.

"My father faced a similar predicament when he was admitted to the general ward at the Jinnah Hospital. Since no proper nursing or cooling arrangements were in place, my father's condition started deteriorating and we had to take him to a private hospital," said Nushab, a local from Liaquatabad, whose father had undergone surgery for a stomach ailment.
According to Dr Nighat Khan, a health management expert, despite Karachi being home to over 30 million people, the state of affairs at the three major government hospitals was abysmal. "Most of the fans in these wards are broken while those that do work are very few. No air coolers or air conditioners are installed in the general wards due to which the poor people are suffering," she affirmed.

"Apart from no cooling arrangements, electric supply failures are also a concern in public hospitals due to which post-operative gynaecology, orthopaedic, diabetes, cardiac and cancer patients face complications," explained Dr Amina, a health expert.

Professor Naushad Sheikh, a surgeon, explained the importance of keeping a post-operative patient in a cool environment during summer. "Post-operative sweating can cause the patient's stitches to become infected, leading to further medical complications," he elaborated.

While patients are suffering inside the general ward due to the scorching weather, their attendants waiting outside are definitely not in a better state. For instance, Munawwar, a father from Nawabshah, was spotted on a footpath outside the Civil Hospital and revealed that his daughter required surgery for a brain tumor.

"My daughter has been admitted to the general ward, which is unbearably hot. Apart from this, no cold water or shade facilities are available in the hospital and attendants have to sit on the footpaths," regretted Munawwar.

Sympathizing with Munawwar, Sabita Mushtaq, a volunteer working in the Health Department confirmed that no awnings or cold-water facilities were available for the attendants of patients. "Since the general ward is too suffocating due to the heat, attendants are forced to spend the night outside on the footpaths in a vulnerable state," she reiterated.

Farzan Ali, a volunteer at a social organization, revealed that NGOs tried their best to offer their services in government hospitals. "Food facilities are being provided for patients and their attendants in most hospitals with the support of welfare institutions," he reminded.

Talking on behalf of the public hospital network, Dr Khalid Bukhari, Medical Superintendent of the Civil Hospital alongside a spokesperson from the Jinnah Hospital, assured that relevant measures were underway for offering facilities to general ward patients and their attendants during the summer season.

Speaking to the Express Tribune on the matter, officials from the Sindh Health Department maintained that the government was working towards equipping government hospitals with all the required facilities.


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