Srinagar: Dozens of cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy at Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura have been left in the lurch since the LINAC machine became defunct a week ago.
The Linear Accelerator (LINAC) equipment, which is a state-of-the art machine used for radiation treatment in cancer, has been lying defunct for the past six days.
“Nearly 50 patients are awaiting the radiation therapy and facing serious problem in continuing the treatment. Most of them are staying in nearby stay homes and the SKIMS-owned Sarai,” said a doctor at SKIMS.
The LINAC machine is not available at any private hospital or health center except SKIMS in Kashmir.
“I was waiting for 15 days for the radiation. Then I learned that the machine is defunct. I have to now wait again, which is tough for me as I have to bear constant pain,” said a patient who is putting up at the Sarai outside SKIMS.
LINAC is a sophisticated device used to treat patients suffering from life-threatening diseases like cancer. It is used to treat all parts/organs of the body with great precision. This treatment has been designed in such a way that it destroys cancer cells while sparing the surrounding normal tissue.
The machine was made functional in 2018 after purchase at an approximate cost of Rs 13.75 crore. The procurement process is already under scanner of the Vigilance Organisation Kashmir because SKIMS administration had delayed the purchase process for more than 10 years. The procurement process for the machine was initiated in 2008 when Ghulam Nabi Azad was the health minister.
Officials of the hospital claimed that due to some sudden fault, the machine was stopped.
“Some parts of the machine are not working properly, so we have to replace them. The spare parts will have to be shipped from outside and it will take some days,” superintendent of SKIMS, Dr Farooq A Jan, told Kashmir Reader.
He said some patients could be put on the Cobalt machine while others would have to wait to get their treatment done.