Key machines destroyed yet to be replaced
By Sumiya Shah
SRINAGAR: The key radiotherapy machines that were damaged in 2014 floods at the Oncology Department in SMHS Hospital, are yet to be replaced, rendering the radiotherapy unit non-functional at the hospital.
The September 2014 floods, which damaged infrastructure and vital equipments of major hospitals in Srinagar, had destroyed the key radiotherapy equipment of the department.
Patients complain that no attempt has been made to resume the radiotherapy that had begun to come up as a viable option for cancer patients.
Many of these cancer patients are left with no choice but to stick their hopes on the overburdened Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura.
“Due to the non-availability of radiotherapy facility here we have to go to SKIMS Soura, where we have to wait for months as large number of patients are already lined up,” Ghulam Hasan Bhat, a patient said.
The department used to receive a good number of patients for radiotherapy every day before the floods.
“When the machine was functional we received 50-60 patients for radiotherapy but now we have to switch all the patients who need radiotherapy to SKIMS till the machine would be restored,” Gayas din Khan a pharmacist in Radiation Oncology Department SMHS said.
Dr Kaiser Ahmad, Principal, Government Medical College Srinagar told Kashmir Reader, “We have started procedure for new machine soon after the devastating flood. After following long procedure for placing an order for new radiotherapy machine, is now on its way. Before 31st march 2017 we will have a new Canadian based radiotherapy machine ready for use”
Moreover, Dr Kaiser said that Cobalt, and Linear Accelerator, also needed for radiotherapy would be fixed in few days.
The Oncology Wing SMHS Hospital has Equinox 80 and HDR Brachytherapy Unit, C T Simulator and Computerized Treatment Planning System. It had 40 beds ward service, OPD Services Daycare chemotherapy and many supportive services.
Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is a cancer treatment often used as part of a treatment plan alongside surgery and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy uses high energy X-rays to target and kill cancer cells. It works because cancer cells are more sensitive to radiation than normal cells. Therefore, cancer cells are destroyed while normal cells recover.