J Surg Oncol. 2020 Sep 14. doi: 10.1002/jso.26217. Online ahead of print.
INTRODUCTION: Following the nationwide lockdown in India, most hospitals shut down elective surgeries including cancer surgeries. We continued operating on patients with cancer at a tertiary referral center in Western India, which also served as a COVID care center. We also constructed a questionnaire, exclusive to surgeons, to determine the changes in treatment strategies as well as the response to the pandemic.
METHODS: The complications of all cases operated in the study period (March 22, 2020-June 30, 2020) were graded using the Clavien-Dindo classification. Also, an anonymous structured questionnaire was constructed and e-mailed to all surgical oncologists working at our institute.
RESULTS: Of the 118 patients having an operation, 18 had complications. There were 12 Grade I/II and 6 Grade III complications but none of our patients had Grade-IV/V complications. When the staff of the main operating theater tested COVID positive, the complex was shut down. However surgical oncology work continued at an affiliated institute about 10 km away from the main hospital.
CONCLUSION: We had favorable outcomes while operating on cancer patients in a COVID care center. The results of our questionnaire proved that surgeons were willing to risk their personal safety to provide surgical oncology care.