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Death under the knife

Shalveen Chand
Tuesday, August 19, 2014

THERE were 5189 operations at the CWM Hospital in 2013 of which 73 people lost their lives, according to figures presented at the Pacific Islands Surgeons Conference in Suva yesterday.

Dr Josese Turagava, in his presentation, said 13 of these deaths happened within 24 hours after the completion of the surgical procedure and two of the deaths recorded during a visit by a cardiac team from India.

When questioned by other participants in the conference as to what had happened with the two cardiac deaths, Dr Turagava said the surgeons at the CWM Hospital were told not to interfere with the visiting overseas teams.

Dr Turagava said diabetes had the highest surgical burdens on the team at the country's biggest hospital. He said there were five surgeons assigned to paediatrics while 28 looked after diabetes-related surgical problems.

He added that with diabetics, surgeons were looking those with this condition every 12 hours.

According to Dr Turagava, diabetics in Fiji opted for local traditional medicine and only came to the hospital when it was too late. Fiji's figures on post operative mortality are the same as Zimbabwe.

In his presentation, Dr Turagava said there was also poor record keeping at the CWM Hospital as he had not been able to get cases older than 2012. CWM medical superintendent Dr Jemesa Tudravu said this was work being done on the issues that had been highlighted.

He said record keeping was being improved and a preventative approach being taken towards non-communicable diseases.

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