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Equipment failure frequent at MNJ hospital

Equipment failure frequent at MNJ hospital
Highlights

Khader, an 80-year-old man accompanied by his son Kabir, has been visiting the Linear Accelerator Centre of the Radiation Department at the MNJ Cancer Hospital every day only to return disappointed and angry as the two Linear Accelerator machines break down every other day.

Hyderabad: Khader, an 80-year-old man accompanied by his son Kabir, has been visiting the Linear Accelerator Centre of the Radiation Department at the MNJ Cancer Hospital every day only to return disappointed and angry as the two Linear Accelerator machines break down every other day.

Another patient, Naveen Kumar of Uppuguda who is undergoing radiation, had to return on Saturday as the machine again failed. He said, “I was told to undergo radiation for 25 days. By now, nine cycles should have been completed, but only three were done.”

N Balamma from Jangaon says, “Every time my family makes a trip to the hospital, they spend close to Rs 800-Rs 1,000. With the machines getting spoilt every other day, the radiation treatment is getting delayed. A patient told us that the delays might turn curative cases to palliative cases.”

The two Linear Accelerator machines breaks down due to the lack of a power back up. Dr N Jayalatha, Head of Department of Radiology says, “We are going in for a high-end transformer at a cost of Rs 1 crore.” She, however, did not mention when the transformer would be installed. Employees at the centre say that due to overloading, the machines go kaput and unlike other equipment that reboots fast, these machines take a lot of time anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour to get operational.

Another reason why the radiation therapy is stopped is due to AC failure. ACs were set up in 2007, but the splits are damaged now. Das, an employee at the centre, says that according to ARB guidelines only 40-50 radiations can be done per day but on an average about 100-120 patients are given radiation every day.

An employee on condition of anonymity said, “There is also a cobalt machine that is used for palliative cases but it can be used even for regular cases. Every day just 5-6 patients are given treatment through cobalt. If optimum utilisation of this machine is done, the load on the other two machines would reduce considerably.”

The lack of staff was another issue that the authorities were not looking into, complained an employee. In one of the three shifts, there is just one Radio Therapy Technologist (RTT).

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