Gastroscopy marathon cuts waiting list

Registered nurse Nezaam Roberts sprays the throat of patient Concilia chikandamina, 37, from Lower Crossroads.

More than 90 patients from Mitchell’s Plain and its surrounding areas were screened for cancer and ulcers, cutting the waiting list for gastroscopies by a month.

Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital held a gastroscopy marathon session with dedicated doctors, borrowed machinery and nurses on Friday November 10, from 7.30am until 3pm.

The waiting list for a gastroscopy, the examination of the upper gut – which consists of the gullet (oesophagus), the stomach and the first part of the gut (small intestine) known as the duodenum – with an endoscope, a thin flexible telescope, is about four-months.

State-of-the-artmonitors and telescopes worth close to
R2 million were borrowed from Canon and Pentax.

A team of 10 doctors from the hospital and other medical institutions volunteered their time to help perform the gastroscopic procedures for patients who have been admitted for day surgery.

The procedure usually takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes a patient. The hospital has eight nurses on duty to assist the doctors during these procedures.

A gastroscopy can be used to treat some problems affecting the oesophagus, stomach, and duodenum and widen a narrowed oesophagus that is causing pain or swallowing difficulties.

Before being discharged two hours after the procedures, patients were transferred to a recovery room, where there was nurse on duty until the patients awoke.

Sister in charge of day theatre, Gyroeniza Komane, said patients with symptoms of bleeding, difficulty swallowing, low hemoglobin figures, severe abdominal pain and loss of weight – 10 to 20kg within two months – need a scope.

She said in many cases patients did not show signs of cancer but following the scope biopsies were done and patients diagnosed for further treatment.

Dr Thomas Crede, in charge of the department of medicine, said the marathon had boosted the morale of staff and allowed them to perform a better service, despite constraints.

“It is important to keep waiting lists under control and of course it is nice to keep numbers down,” he said.