Does in-hospital trauma mortality in urban Indian academic centres differ between “office-hours” and “after-hours”?

Introduction
Trauma services within hospitals may vary considerably at different times across a 24 h period. The variable services may negatively affect the outcome of trauma victims. The current investigation aims to study the effect of arrival time of major trauma patients on mortality and morbidity.

Method
Retrospective analysis of the Australia-India Trauma Systems Collaboration (AITSC) registry established in four public university teaching centres in India Based on hospital arrival time, patients were grouped into “Office-hours” and “After-hours”. Outcome parameters were compared between the above groups.

Results
5536 (68.4%) patients presented “after-hours” (AO) and 2561 (31.6%) during “office-hours” (OH). The in-hospital mortality for “after-hours” and “office-hours” presentations were 12.1% and 11.6% respectively. On unadjusted analysis, there was no statistical difference in the odds of survival for OH versus AH presentations. (OR,1.05, 95% CI 0.9‐1.2). Adjusting for potential prognostic factors (injury severity, presence of shock on arrival, referral status, sex, or extremes of age), there was no statistically significant odds of survival for OH versus AH presentations (OR,1.02, 95%CI 0.9–1.2).ICU length of stay and duration of mechanical ventilation was longer in the AH group.

Conclusion
The in-hospital mortality did not differ between trauma patients who arrived during “after-hours” compared to ‘“office-hours”.

Designing for Health Accessibility: Case Studies of Human-Centered Design to Improve Access to Cervical Cancer Screening

Our world faces immense challenges in global health and equity. There continue to be huge disparities in access to health care across geographies, despite the massive strides that have been made to address health issues. In this dissertation, I explore the role of human-centered design to improve global health access and reduce disparities. Human-centered design, a cross-disciplinary creative problem-solving approach, has been applied and studied in both academic research and practice, but its role in improving global health access remains poorly understood.

In this dissertation, I present research on designing for health accessibility in the context of one particular disease: cervical cancer. Every year, 300,000 women around the world die of cervical cancer and ninety percent of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Cervical cancer is an illustrative example of the global disparities in access to health care, given that cervical cancer is preventable and the majority of global cervical cancer mortality is in low- and middle-income countries.

My research examines the work of two organizations that created unique solutions to improve access to cervical cancer screening in India and Nicaragua. I develop case studies of each organization grounded in ethnographic fieldwork, including over 250 hours of observation and 15 interviews over two years. Through these case studies, I show how early efforts to understand the barriers inhibiting cervical cancer screening access allow design practitioners to create novel and feasible ways to address these barriers. This demonstrates the importance of design practitioners considering multiple dimensions of accessibility, including availability, physical accessibility, accommodation, affordability, and acceptability, while conducting design research in order to improve the potential impact of their ideas and prototypes. Overall, this dissertation establishes the foundation of a new paradigm to “design for accessibility” that can inspire further application and research across sectors to address the many social equity and accessibility challenges facing our world.

Frugal innovations that helped mission hospitals manage during the pandemic and further suggestions

The COVID-19 pandemic with the suddenly announced lockdown in India caused great stress to already resource-constrained rural mission hospitals. Frugal innovations helped some of the mission hospitals cope with the lockdown and resume regular work. Personal Protective Equipment was made locally and staff were trained to take care of the infected patients. Cell phones and the zoom app helped them with communications. The Gas Insufflation Less Laparoscopic surgical technique helped them perform safe surgeries and allow quicker turnover of patients. The innovative Laptop Cystoscope helped in follow up treatment of patients treated earlier by specialists and for emergency treatment. Empowering local mission hospital doctors and modern communication methods helped these hospitals maintain services during the pandemic.

Barriers and facilitators of laparoscopic surgical training in rural north-east India: a qualitative study

Introduction:
Laparoscopic surgery has advantages for treating many abdominal surgical conditions, but its use in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) is limited by many factors, including a lack of training opportunities. The aim of this study was to explore the training experiences of surgeons in rural north-east India to highlight the barriers and facilitators to laparoscopic surgery.

Methods:
Eleven surgeons with experience in laparoscopy in rural north-east India were recruited using purposive and convenience sampling. Ethical approval was obtained from the Institutional Ethics Committee, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India and the Leeds Institute of Health Sciences Research Ethics Sub-Committee, West Yorkshire, England. Consenting participants took part in semi-structured interviews, either between May 20 and 25, 2019 in rural north-east India or via Skype or at the University of Leeds in June 2019. Interviews were audio-recorded and transcribed and thematic content analysis performed.

Results:
Exposure to laparoscopy during postgraduate training was common, but training experiences were inconsistent and informal. Alternative training opportunities are limited by availability and cost. There is high demand for a structured curriculum, incorporating formal assessment and credentialing, to include observation and assistance in live surgery and laparoscopic simulation.

Conclusions:
Laparoscopic training experiences are highly variable, with limited training resources and lack of a curriculum. Poor accessibility is consistent with that recorded in literature. Current recommendations include government support and funding to guide development of a standardized curriculum and widen access to training programs for surgeons in rural settings.

Traumatic Brain Injury in Mumbai: A Survey of Providers along the Care Continuum

Introduction:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) represents a significant burden of a global disease, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) such as India. Efforts to curb the impact of TBI require an appreciation of local factors related to this disease and its treatment.

Methods:
Semi-structured qualitative interviews were administered to paramedics, anesthesiologists, general surgeons, and neurosurgeons in locations throughout Mumbai from April to May 2018. A thematic analysis with an iterative coding was used to analyze the data. The primary objective was to identify provider-perceived themes related to TBI care in Mumbai.

Results:
A total of 50 participants were interviewed, including 17 paramedics, 15 anesthesiologists, 9 general surgeons, and 9 neurosurgeons who were involved in caring for TBI patients. The majority of physicians interviewed discussed their experiences in public sector hospitals (82%), while 12% discussed private sector hospitals and 6% discussed both. Four major themes emerged: Workforce, equipment, financing care, and the family and public role. These themes were often discussed in the context of their effects on increasing or decreasing complications and delays. Participants developed adaptations when managing shortcomings in these thematic areas. These adaptations included teamwork during workforce shortages and resource allocation when equipment was limited among others.

Conclusions:
Workforce, equipment, financing care, and the family and public role were identified as major themes in the care for TBI in Mumbai. These thematic elements provide a framework to evaluate and improve care along the care spectrum for TBI. Similar frameworks should be adapted to local contexts in urbanizing cities in LMICs.

Letter to Editor: “Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning and Big Data Analytics for Resource Optimization in Surgery”

Dear Editor,

Health care delivery in the pandemic is heavily disrupted. There are high stakes and economic implications are huge especially in more vulnerable low and middle-income group countries (LMICs). It is even more imperative now that we optimize our resources. Artificial intelligence (AI) and its exploits should now be requisitioned. Two subsets of AI are machine learning (ML) which in turn enables deep learning (DL). Big data are analyzed [1]. Such tasks are complex and will require yeoman efforts both on the parts individuals and governments. The respective state and central governments will provide regulatory sanctions. Preparations into big data analysis, machine learning leading to deep learning is likely to save resources. The current pandemic has amply shown this and should prompt us to invest in AI. Efforts and investment in deep learning should be translational in resource allocation and resource triage even during normal settings.

An Analysis of 30-Day in-Hospital Trauma Mortality in Four Urban University Hospitals Using the Australia India Trauma Registry

Background
India has one-sixth (16%) of the world’s population but more than one-fifth (21%) of the world’s injury mortality. A trauma registry established by the Australia India Trauma Systems Collaboration (AITSC) Project was utilized to study 30-day in-hospital trauma mortality at high-volume Indian hospitals.

Methods
The AITSC Project collected data prospectively between April 2016 and March 2018 at four Indian university hospitals in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad. Patients admitted with an injury mechanism of road or rail-related injury, fall, assault, or burns were included. The associations between demographic, physiological on-admission vitals, and process-of-care parameters with early (0–24 h), delayed (1–7 days), and late (8–30 days) in-hospital trauma mortality were analyzed.

Results
Of 9354 patients in the AITSC registry, 8606 were subjected to analysis. The 30-day mortality was 12.4% among all trauma victims. Early (24-h) mortality was 1.9%, delayed (1–7 days) mortality was 7.3%, and late (8–30 days) mortality was 3.2%. Abnormal physiological parameters such as a low SBP, SpO2, and GCS and high HR and RR were observed among non-survivors. Early initiation of trauma assessment and monitoring on arrival was an important process of care indicator for predicting 30-day survival.

Conclusions
One in ten admitted trauma patients (12.4%) died in urban trauma centers in India. More than half of the trauma deaths were delayed, beyond 24 h but within one week following injury. On-admission physiological vital signs remain a valid predictor of early 24-h trauma mortality.

A Novel and Simple Technique of Reconstructing the Central Arch Mandibular Defects-a Solution During the Resource-Constrained Setting of COVID Crisis

The current COVID 19 pandemic has a major impact on healthcare delivery globally. Oral cancer involving anterior arch of mandible is difficult to reconstruct and ideally, requires free fibular osteomyocutaneous flap. During this time of resource constraint situation, these free flaps are not a great choice, as it increases exposure of both patient and surgical team to the deadly virus. We are describing a novel method of reconstruction after resection of oral cancer involving anterior arch of mandible. In this new technique, we have reconstructed central arch defect by hanging bipaddle pectoralis major myocutaneous flap with orbicularis oris muscle using ethylene terephthalate suture. Operative time, early postoperative complications and early cosmetic and functional outcome were assessed. We have used this novel technique in eight patients of T4a oral cancer involving anterior arch of mandible and skin over chin. Mean operative time was 180 min. One patient had minor flap loss with surgical site infection (Clavien-Dindo grade I). In all patients, we were able to discharge all patients on eighth postoperative day. Cosmetic outcome and functional outcomes were mostly satisfactory. All patients were able to oppose their lips without any oral incompetence and drooling. Tongue mobility was good. There was no incidence of ‘Andy Gump deformity’. This is a feasible option for reconstructing anterior arch defect in resource- and time-limited setting of COVID 19 pandemic. This technique can also be used in comorbid conditions where it is not advisable to do very long surgery.

Safe Laparoscopy in Low and Middle Income Countries by reducing Surgical Site Infections through Laparoscopic Instrument Cleaning

Access to safe and affordable surgery is nothing short of a basic human right and people from all walks of life are entitled to it. But, five people from resource-constrained low and middle-income countries are vulnerable and left to fend for themselves when the need for surgery is a life governing event. Inhabitants of these regions are scourged by high mortality and morbidity due to surgical infection caused by the use of unclean and unsterile surgical instruments. Reduction in infections can be achieved by using clean and sterile surgical instruments. Laparoscopy, is a promising technique of surgery developed to efficiently perform complex abdominal surgeries with the use of small and minimum incisions on the patient. Laparoscopy’s minimally invasive nature allows complex surgeries to take place without the need of an absolutely sterile operating room, although the sterility of the surgical instruments cannot be compromised. The added benefit of faster recovery from smaller wounds makes it even more desirable for this context. The Minimally Invasive Surgery and Interventional Techniques Lab of the TU Delft has initiated projects addressing the health and well-being of resource-constrained, underdeveloped communities like rural India through frugal innovation. Rural Indian hospitals are grossly underfunded, under-maintained, and understaffed. Sterile processing practices in rural India are rudimentary compared to high-income hospitals like the ones in the Netherlands. In high-income hospitals, all used surgical instruments are cleaned and sterilized in dedicated central sterile processing departments (CSSD) by highly trained and well protected sterile processing technicians. However, rural India usually employs small teams of local undertrained and semi-literate nurses to carry out every primary and ancillary duty in the hospital. The lack of dedicated CSSDs exacerbates the nurse’s workload and exposure to harmful pathogenic surgical instruments. Laparoscopic instruments developed in high-income nations are seldom designed keeping low resource contexts in mind. The geometrical complexity of instruments keeps increasing but cleaning methods in rural India have stagnated. Resource constraints are a major reason as to why proper international and national guidelines for reprocessing cannot be followed. Hence hospitals cannot guarantee 100% safe and sterile instruments as compared so standardized outcomes in high-income hospitals. In this graduation project, the distinct reprocessing journey of surgical instruments for the two diverse economic contexts were studied. A comparative analysis of both reprocessing journeys uncovered severe unsafe and unfavorable practices in rural India. Significant data and insights from the research have hence paved the way for focusing on the “Cleaning” stage of the laparoscopic instrument reprocessing journey in rural India. This MSc graduation project aims at designing a frugal solution for cleaning and repurposing laparoscopic instruments, dedicated to hospitals in rural India where the demand for laparoscopy is high but surgeries are less due to resource constraints like lack of laparoscopic instruments and repurposing devices. The involvement of an Indian nurse and laparoscopic surgeon provided first-hand information about the problems and requirements in the rural Indian context. Prototyping and testing of various cleaning setups were conducted to extract the most viable design solution. Insights from the research and testing were combined into the concept design of a frugal mechanical washer and subsequently an “Envisioned Reprocessing Journey” for rural Indian hospitals to suggest a standard protocol for keeping most of their existing infrastructure in mind. Evaluations with the Indian nurse revealed that this device could indeed be a game-changer to the existing practices of reprocessing laparoscopic instruments in rural India.

Management of liver trauma in urban university hospitals in India: an observational multicentre cohort study

Background
Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) contribute to 90% of injuries occurring in the world. The liver is one of the commonest organs injured in abdominal trauma. This study aims to highlight the demographic and management profile of liver injury patients, presenting to four urban Indian university hospitals in India.

Methods
This is a retrospective registry-based study. Data of patients with liver injury either isolated or concomitant with other injuries was used using the ICD-10 code S36.1 for liver injury. The severity of injury was graded based on the World Society of Emergency Surgery (WSES) grading for liver injuries.

Results
A total of 368 liver injury patients were analysed. Eighty-nine percent were males, with road traffic injuries being the commonest mechanism. As per WSES liver injury grade, there were 127 (34.5%) grade I, 96 (26.1%) grade II, 70 (19.0%) grade III and 66 (17.9%) grade IV injuries. The overall mortality was 16.6%. Two hundred sixty-two patients (71.2%) were managed non-operatively (NOM), and 106 (38.8%) were operated. 90.1% of those managed non-operatively survived.

Conclusion
In this multicentre cohort of liver injury patients from urban university hospitals in India, the commonest profile of patient was a young male, with a blunt injury to the abdomen due to a road traffic accident. Success rate of non-operative management of liver injury is comparable to other countries.