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Infection forces twin OT closures

Two operating theatres (OT), one at Nilratan Sirkar Medical College and Hospital and another at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, have been shut down after the detection of tetanus infection inside them. The OTs are expected to reopen on Monday.

The lone emergency OT at NRS Hospital was closed on Friday after “a routine swab test” of the refuse collected from its floor revealed traces of clostridium tetani, the bacteria causing the disease. The previous day, the orthopaedic OT at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital was shut after traces of the tetanus bacteria were found in the room.

All surgeries were cancelled at NRS following the detection of the germ; doctors were told that the OT would remain closed till further orders. NRS Hospital superintendent Shyamal Rudra said on Saturday that the OT was being fumigated.

NRS Hospital authorities have been forced to refer all emergency operation cases to other medical colleges across the city. On an average, at least 15 to 20 patients undergo surgeries in the emergency OT every day. “We have no option but to refer patients to other hospitals. Our routine surgeries are being conducted in the main OT,” Rudra added.

Surgeries have also been rescheduled at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital. “We have no choice but to turn patients away,” a doctor said.

Health department officials expressed concern at increasing instances of the tetanus germ being found in government-run hospitals.

“It is not possible to sterilise each and every patient who comes in for an emergency surgery. Most of these are accident cases and cannot be delayed. All such patients are potential risks, but there is little we can do about it,” explained NRS superintendent Rudra.

The OT at RG Kar Hospital is expected to get a clearance certificate from the microbiology department on Monday.

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