Radio-nuclear therapy not yet at Omandurar hospital

Waiting list stands at 260, expected to cross 600 soon.

Chennai: The high dose radio-nuclear therapy facility at the government Omandurar multi super specialty hospital, which was set to begin operation by mid-December, is yet to open its doors to patients.

This is a ‘first-of-its kind’ world-class facility for treatment of refractory cancers like the thyroid cancer, Neuroendocrine Tumours and the like, and is to be operated by the Institute of Nuclear Imaging and Molecular Medicine of the hospital.

Set up at a cost of over Rs 2 crore, this facility had a waiting list of around 70 patients in the month of November when Deccan Chronicle featured the ward.

The waiting list now, has however reached almost 260 and the doctors say the ward may open within a month.

Moreover, as there is no such facility elsewhere in the Tamil Nadu government hospitals and very few available in the private sector, the waiting list expected to exceed 600 shortly.

“We had expected the ward to open by December, but certain formalities continued to remain pending. Also, considering the state of political affairs in Tamil Nadu, it had to be kept on hold,” said Dr E. Prabhu, senior consultant and Head of the Institute of Nuclear Imaging and Molecular Medicine.

The wards, built in strict adherence to the guidelines of the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, aims at the treatment of patients with slow growing tumours like the differentiated thyroid cancers that generally do not respond to conventional management strategies like the surgery, chemotherapy and external radiation.

“Radioisotopes that emit high energy, particulate radiation like the radioactive iodine containing capsule is given orally to the patient in the wards.”

“This will act upon the cancer cells at the molecular level and completely destroy them without causing harm to the patient,” said a doctor in the hospital.

“We were prepared to open the ward, but were privileged to get a donation of the automated Radiopharmaceutical dispenser machine by Jubilant Company.
Also, we have requested the Tamil Nadu Medical Services Corporation (TNMSC) to fund the area monitor (which will be placed at the entrance to the ward, displaying that it is a radiation-filled zone), and the Fumehood (a machine that will suck the possible radioactive fumes and filter them before releasing into the atmosphere, at a level of about one meter above the tallest structure of this hospital), which is still pending,” said the doctor. On the delay in funding the same, health secretary and president, TNMSC, J. Radhakrishnan, said, “We will see to it that is expedited.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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