Orthopedic surgeries halted as IGMH fails to provide protective gowns

Read this article in Dhivehi

Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) has “temporarily delayed” some orthopedic surgeries after State Trading Organisation (STO) failed to supply lead gowns for medical staff, Deputy CEO Dr Mohamed Habeeb has said today.

He said the only surgeries affected by this would be those that require real-time X-ray monitoring, and that the hospital was expecting to receive the gowns very soon.

The lead gowns, like most other medical supplies for the hospital, are purchased through the STO, said Habeeb. The STO is a public company, with more than ninety two percent shares owned by the government.

“We have ordered replacements even last year. We might get them even by tonight. STO is working on it right now,” said Habeeb.

The purpose of lead gowns is to prevent the unnecessary and frequent exposure of medical staff to radiation which can cause cancer, infertility, and birth defects. While an estimated minimum of ten gowns are usually required for a surgery, the hospital currently has only two fit for use.

An IGMH nurse who often has to assist such surgeries told Minivan News that it has now been more than two years since they started requesting for new gowns. Letters have been written informing all relevant authorities of the situation, she added.

Orthopedic surgeries are done three days a week at the hospital, she explained, and on some days more than six of these surgeries require lead gowns.

“They [the remaining usable gowns] are usually taken by the doctors, saying they are closer to the source. Some staff have panicked after finding out they are pregnant. That risk is always there. And we are concerned about the patients as well. I have never seen any patient being offered a gown here,” she continued.

She stated that when patients need urgent attention, nurses cannot ignore and refuse to attend them even with the risks. Following a decision made by the department today, they will not be attending such surgeries until gowns are provided for them.

Head of the IGMH Orthopedic Department Dr Yoosuf Shan has told ‘Haveeru‘ that a memo highlighting the department’s decision has been sent to the heads of IGMH and the Health Minister.

“Radiation exposure could cause cancer. Most nurses assisting the surgeries are women. Without lead gowns their children could be born with birth defects. So as a precautionary measure we were forced to stop some of surgeries. They will continue only after we received lead gown,” Dr Shan was quoted as saying.

IGMH could not identify the exact reason for the delay in acquiring the gowns and the STO was unable to put Minivan News in touch with the relevant person.

Last November STO stopped supplying medicine to IGMH after it reached a set credit limit. At the time STO managing director Shahid Ali told local media that the Hospital had to pay approximately MVR 200 million to the organisation.

STO later resumed supples after raising the credit limit by MVR5 million in addition to the MVR411 million credit limit which includes payments going back to 2011.

Following the failure of other state owned company’s to pay almost US$40 million in bills owed to the STO, President Abdulla Yameen declared the organisation bankrupt last November. The company subsequently launched a campaign to cut operational costs by MVR50 million in 2014 (US$ 3,242,542).


8 thoughts on “Orthopedic surgeries halted as IGMH fails to provide protective gowns”

  1. If Dr.Shan is sincere, why did he not take this same step two years back. Why did they expose nurses with full knowledge. Why did the nurses themselves get exposed? Why did not the department do this two years back. Why? Please ask them. I need an answer for their lack of responsibility in such an important matter. I believe they all are idiots, if they have been doing this for two years while knowing that they should not be doing that. And such idiots should not be providing health care. People who do not care for their own safety, will not care for their patients either. Minivan, please do something, and get to the bottom of this. Thank you.

  2. Male Bridge in 2 years. All services at the level of Singapore and South Korea. Isn't that what we heard just yesterday?

    But fundamental and basic services are going down hill day by day. Nicely done Yameen.

  3. Dr Shan is an extremely gifted and kind surgeon. I speak from personal experience having undergone a spine surgery by him. This was for a condition I have been unable to find relief despite being treated by doctors in both Bangkok and Malaysia. If memory serves me right Dr Habeeb was head of ortho two years back. While it is easy for us to talk about it, the doctors have been working really hard within their limited budgets to provide a good service for us. Ortho service provided by igmh has drastically improved in recent years due to the tireless efforts of those we so lightly criticize. Well done to Dr Shan for taking a stand in such an important issue.

  4. Tonight I found the answer myself in the news. They got frightened because of the HIV positive blood incident!!! How sad. Shame on health sector.

  5. Haseena,

    As a nurse working in IGMH operation theater, I would say, we refused many times to go in while taking x-ray without a led gown. But there are times while the patient is under general anaesthesia, for the sake of patient, we have to go in. Because we don't have any other choice. We sacrifice ourselves to care for the patient. So you can't simply say that we are idiots, or we don't care patients. You wouldn't understand the situation unless you are in our shoes.

  6. @haseena... i think its about time that you and all other Maldivians start looking into the Good rather than the Bad. Whilst running the state Hospital, budget is always an issue. Hence the difficulties faced and we cannot simply point fingers just because its not done.

    Furthermore i noticed that you mentioned "People who do not care for their own safety, will not care for their patients either". Well is like saying a soldier fighting for a country does not believe in the cause he is fighting for. In this case the doctors, nurses and staff are doing the best they can with their limited resources. That in no way means that they do not care for their patients, in fact they should be commended for the service they are providing.

  7. hi,,
    i am an Indian nurse working in igmh theater.i am really thankful to dr.yoosuf shan for these words.“Radiation exposure could cause cancer. Most nurses assisting the surgeries are women. Without lead gowns their children could be born with birth defects. So as a precautionary measure we were forced to stop some of surgeries. They will continue only after we received lead gown,” Dr Shan was quoted as saying..i support you for the stand you have taken.

    i feel pity for a comment saying that we all are idiots...yes we are the ones who considers the patients when they comes for surgery and gives the immediate and essential drug administration and nursing care during surgeries without taking care of us, that oh!we dont have a led apron let the patient suffer..the only thing comes to our mind during that situation is 'i should save him by giving care '.i am proud to say that all the doctors ,nurses and health care staffs are doing their best even in the limited resources which is available here..if that made others to think that they are idiots...i am proud to be an idiot.we can feel the pain and effort of personnels when we are in their shoes.

    However all these comments concentrate on a main point that there is no sufficient led aprons in theater.so we are at risk..let the higher authorities open their eyes and take necessary action.Dr.shan's statement and the public comments might have made a way to an immediate action.lets hope for the best.


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