Being recommended for a surgery for treatment these days for a health ailment is very common.

The usual questions that patients ask are:

  1. Is the surgical treatment cost effective?
  2. Is the doctor warm/welcoming in his approach?
  3. Is the hospital and/or the doctor a reputed one?
  4. Is the hospital located at a convenient distance from my home?
  5. Does the hospital accept the medical insurance that I am covered under?

While these are the typical items that we pay attention to, there are other aspects that you need to be informed about before deciding where, when and how to go in for a surgery.

Here are some details to get started with.

– A surgery is performed in an operation theater, and some very minor surgeries are carried out in mini operating rooms. A key parameter in such environments is the process followed by the hospital for Infection Control. One of the biggest threats to good outcomes in a surgery is infection and it is imperative to get complete assurance from the doctor on infection control practices that are followed in the hospital.

– Get a sense of the typical outcomes in the hospital that you are considering for your treatment. Seek information on success rate for similar surgeries performed in the facility and the profile of past patients who have undergone similar surgeries; perhaps if possible even talk to a couple of them.

– Post operative care is equally, if not more important, than the surgery itself. While surgery treats only a part of the actual ailment, good post operative care completes the treatment. For example, in the case of orthopaedic surgeries, post operative physiotherapy is essential and the hospital should have facilities for the same or, at least tie-ups with clinics that offer them.

– Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Critical Care Units (CCU) and associated infrastructure should be available within the hospital. Immediately after the surgery, a patient is moved to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) where he/she is under observation for a few hours.  In the case of paediatric surgeries, a well-equipped Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) houses the mother and child for observation post delivery.  The patient, and caregiver, should seek all possible information to satisfy themselves as to the quality and capabilities of the Care Units.  Enquiring into the Care Unit facilities that the hospital has, even visiting the Units and observing the care given, can assure the patient as to the equipment available and the efficiency of the hospital staff.  In the case of paediatric surgeries, always ask specific questions like how many paediatric ventilators does the ICU have?  Or how many members of the nursing staff are trained to handle newborns?

As part of e-Second Opinion initiatives, we at my-healthconnect specialize in connecting patients with providers for a Second Opinion on their medical problem. Our initiatives have been helpful in connecting patients in rural India as well as overseas patients to specialist surgeons in India for an Opinion followed by a treatment too.