Eight beds are all the Institute of Laparoscopic Surgery started with on July 10, 2000. By its second year, the number had quadrupled and the range of procedures performed expanded by popular demand. Now, to cater to a larger number of patients, the Salt Lake centre is also kick-starting an outpatients’ department, state-of-the-art operating theatres (OTs) and an intensive treatment unit (ITU) this July.
The “overwhelming response” has pushed the institute, with doctor Om Tantia at its helm, to expand its reach. The first handful of beds had been dedicated to laparoscopic surgery, with the next 14 reserved for rural patients in need of more economical packages. Finally, in August 2001, 12 beds were introduced for a maternity unit, with a well-equipped labour room and nursery, run by gynaecologist Aruna Tantia. Apart from Calcutta-based patients, there is a rush from Bangladesh, the Northeast and rural areas.
“The centre was becoming more and more popular, especially amongst surgeons, and with just one OT, we couldn’t accommodate them all,” explains director Om Tantia. Now, the hi-tech theatres will help undertake more “sophisticated” surgery, and the ITU will allow them to admit serious cases.
The “multi-faculty” OPD, on the ground floor of the facility at Salt Lake’s DD-6, will have doctors from all streams, as well as pathological labs for the whole gamut of diagnostic tests. The six-bedded ITU will be attached to two OTs. “The theatres will have a laminar-flow air-system, which creates an air curtain that is bacteria-free,” adds hospital administrator S.L. Choraria. The system, imported from Germany, ensures that the air in the operating rooms is free from germs, minimising the chance of a post-operative infection.
The bid to provide laparoscopic healthcare to “more and more people” has led Tantia to start an in-house training facility for rural and outstation doctors. Six to eight surgeons are taken on every third month. “Our aim is to start satellite centres to take our services to the common man,” explains Tantia. This may happen in the next six months.