A team from Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital (HMGH) of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) successfully performed a highly-advanced surgery to treat a COVID-19 patient with kidney stones.

The surgery is thought to be a world-first for a COVID-19 patient using the thulium fibre laser. It marks the first time that the thulium fibre laser technology has been used on a COVID-19 positive patient in the Middle East, using the Ibn Sina Robot.

HMC Surgery on COVID-19 Patient 4

The first-of-its-kind surgery combined highly advanced laser techniques and robotic surgery technology and allowed for precautionary distancing in the operating theatre. The technology allowed the surgical team to perform the operation on the COVID-19 positive patient while ensuring two metres distance between the patient and surgeons.

The surgery was one of a three kidney stone procedure performed during a single day at HMGH. The other two surgeries were performed on non-COVID-19 patients using the thulium fibre laser but without the robotic surgery technology.

Dr Abudulla Al Ansari
Dr Abudulla Al Ansari
Dr Morshed Ali Salah
Dr Morshed Ali Salah

Dr Abdulla Al Ansari, Chief Medical Officer at HMC, together with Dr Morshed Ali Salah, Senior Consultant of Surgery and Head of Surgery and Urology Departments at HMGH, performed the three procedures.

A new anaesthesia procedure was also used to reduce the duration of the surgeries, ensuring safer care for patients and reducing their length of stay in the hospital. Two of the patients were discharged on the same day as their procedure, while the COVID-19 patient remains in the hospital to receive additional care.

While the world and healthcare organisations are struggling from the continuous pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic, HMC continues to be committed to providing the best care for patients according to global quality standards, says Dr Al Ansari. He said that HMC has succeeded, despite the circumstances of the pandemic and the blockade, to introduce a state-of-the-art surgical technology using the thulium fibre laser to perform this first of its kind surgery in the world.

The surgery, he said, demonstrates HMC’s commitment to providing the highest medical and safety standards.

We would like to reassure all patients that our emergency surgical services are available as usual and that we are applying all measures and safety procedures to protect patients and medical teams.

We understand the stress and anxiety that some patients may feel towards being treated in (a) hospital but they should feel confident knowing that we are applying all recommended procedures to reduce their risk of COVID-19 infection.

Dr Salah said that the third surgery was more complicated as the 33 year-old patient was COVID-19 positive and was suffering from a 1.5 stone in his right kidney.

We started using the Ibn Sina Robot nine months ago and we have performed 42 surgeries to date. This equipment is highly accurate in terms of targeting. The laser can target kidney stones from different angles and in a circulated diameter that reaches 440 degrees.

He said that the laser also allows surgeons to keep a safe distance, which is essential when caring for patients who are COVID-19 positive, for example. The technology allows doctors to reach to 2.5 metres while ensuring less movement for the endoscope inside the kidney and reducing any potential trauma.

The new thulium fibre is an advanced technology and reduces the time required to complete the procedure by half. This allows most patients to be discharged from the hospital sooner, and helps ensure patients experience less post-surgery pain.

According to HMGH Medical Director Dr Ahmad Al Mohammed, HMC is continuing to provide all medical services to patients, regardless of their COVID-19 status.

We value the efforts being made by staff to ensure the best possible care of all patients, including those who are COVID-19 positive. All care is being provided in accordance with a comprehensive treatment plan coordinated across the various hospital departments.

Dr Al Mohammed said they are fully prepared to treat COVID-19 patients and to provide all required medical services, as part of their efforts to ensure that the burden on other HMC facilities is reduced and that patients and staff at non-COVID treatment facilities are not unnecessarily exposed to the virus. He said that this strategic plan was prepared by the HMC System Wide Incident Command (SWICC) and has proven to be very effective in ensuring the best care for all patients.

For updates and more information about HMC and their COVID-19 response services, visit hamad.qa