Anyone who has had kidney stones knows that pain is one of the most intense. Imagine having this feeling daily, with no prospect of getting better. That’s how it has been for Cristiano de Sousa Ataídes, 43, who for four months waiting for a vacancy in the SUS in Belo Horizonte to perform the surgery and remove the stone that has lodged in the ureter.
While he waits, Cristiano, who is unemployed, needs medication to control his kidney colic. In this period, lost 20 kilos and fears that the delay could lead to other health problems.
“The pain is being controlled, but other problems are appearing, it seems that the organs inside are being squeezed, the kidneys are swelling”, he said.
Only this Monday morning (30), the second city hall of Belo Horizonte, Cristiano had a preoperative consultation at the Metropolitan Hospital Dr. Célio de Castro. “The preoperative consultation is the authorization of the Municipal Health Department to carry out the procedure”, said the municipal administration.
But Cristiano says he still needs one more, with the anesthesiologist, who is only scheduled for September 30, to have a definition of when he will be operated.
“The doctor said that the hardest part was getting here. Now I think the surgery should be done in late October or early November,” he said.
Stories like Cristiano’s became more common during the pandemic. Currently, 33,000 people await elective surgery in the capital.
The queue of patients waiting for the procedure has grown mainly in the last four months. With the increase in hospital pressure because of the explosion of Covid cases in Belo Horizonte, the city determined, in March this year, the suspension of elective surgeries – and recommended the same measure to private health services – until the improvement of care indicators.
Some general ICU beds were transferred to specific units for Covid-19 care. The number of general ICU beds in Belo Horizonte was 758 in January. In May, after an increase in hospital admissions due to the coronavirus, the number of these beds reduced to 587.
The result is that the number of operations carried out also halved in the first half of this year compared to 2019, before the pandemic: from more than 20 thousand to about 10 thousand procedures.
With the improvement in the indicators of the pandemic, the ICU beds were once again destined for non-Covid patients and elective surgeries, little by little, are being resumed. Currently, BH has 783 units available.
Santa Casa de Belo Horizonte — Photo: Raquel Freitas/G1
Gradually, the routine of elective surgeries is resumed at Santa Casa, one of the largest hospitals in the capital of Minas Gerais that serves by SUS. The number of procedures performed increased from 85 in June to 311 in July and 394 by the 24th of August. The number of ICU beds for Covid at the institution has dropped from 231 at the peak of the pandemic to 31 now.
It was after this resumption that housewife Irene Nunes Rosa finally managed to have the bypass graft 15 days ago.
“I was worried because the cardiologist said that if I felt anything I would just run to the UPA. Thank God I didn’t need it and there was time to do the surgery”, he said.
According to Irene, the procedure had been awaited since before the pandemic. “Then came the pandemic, everything stopped. Then I tried again. When I was going to operate, back in February or March, the anesthesiologist called to cancel and said that, because of the purple wave, I couldn’t do it,” he said.
Facade of the Hospital da Baleia, in Belo Horizonte — Photo: Reproduction/TV Globo
This month, Hospital da Baleia also began to resume elective procedures and, according to the advisor to the technical superintendence, Cynthia Loyd, a joint effort is already being planned in conjunction with the Municipal Health Department to reduce the waiting list.
“We resume elective surgeries now. Compared to the peak in March, we have already increased by 30% in August”, he said.
The hospital performs about a thousand surgeries per month and, with the improvement of the pandemic scenario, the expectation is, according to Cynthia, to absorb the pent-up demand.
“As we are going to have this reduction in CTI Covid beds, we believe that we will occupy it with elective surgeries. We may have aggravation of cases due to the long waiting time that patients were in line. Therefore, it is important to make this transformation of beds for this surgical rear”, he said.
Currently, Baleia has 10 ICU beds and 20 in an infirmary for Covid. The expectation is to reduce to 2 and 10, respectively.
The Health Defender’s Office establishes direct contact with the Municipal and State Health Departments to provide medicines, expedite surgeries and other required procedures, without the need to file a lawsuit in court, which could take more time.
With the pandemic, care is preferably carried out virtually. The contact numbers are (31) 98355-1340 and (31) 98477-7201.