No internet stalls efficient operations of vital machinery at GMC

Irfan Tramboo
Srinagar, Dec 8: Four months have passed, but the Government Medical College (GMC) is yet to upgrade a new machine procured for its Radiation Oncology Department. The inability of updating the machine program is being attributed to the absence of internet service at the hospital.
While the machine, known as ‘Linear Accelerator’ (Linac), is said to be critical for the treatment of cancer patients, the non-upgradation of it is somewhere affecting the treatment of scores patients struggling with the deadly disease.
Insiders in the hospital informed Excelsior that the new machine is an advanced version of the machine, known as ‘Cobalt’, which already is in use in the hospital. “The machine is used to treat cancer patients in a way of radiation therapy; the new machine is more precise than its old version and by upgrading it, it would have helped a great deal in treating the patients more effectively,” they said.
The machine was procured in August; however, there was a need of having required software to run the machine. The required software at that time was brought in from Delhi and subsequently installed in the machine.
Interestingly, after the installation of the software in the machine, and after making the patients wait in order to be treated with the help of the new machine, certain program was to be upgraded and there was a dire need of establishing contact with the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) which oversees and regulates the working of the machines dealing with radiation.
“AERB is the regulatory body and the program on the machine was to be upgraded for the effective treatment; establishing contact with the Board was imperative and the data of the machine was to be sent to the Board which was not possible till date due to the non-availability of internet services,” they said.
Due to the absence of the internet services in the hospital, those handling the machine are not able to communicate with incharge of such operations at AERB. “Due to this shortcoming, the hospital is not able to use the machine on large scale,” they added.
Without putting all the requisites in place so the machine could work more effectively, the GMC administration has given a nod to start the machine. Even the Head of the Department, Radiation Oncology has also given in writing stating that the machine can be used for the treatment of patients.
Due to the non-upgradation of the machine, scores of patients who are struggling with the deadly disease are not able to get sophisticated treatment to deal with cancer.
When contacted, Principal, GMC Prof Parvaiz Ahmad Shah told Excelsior that the machine was ‘up and running’ and the patients were being treated at the hospitals.
“There have been talks around that the machine is not working, but I have conducted an inspection myself; the machine is fully functional; however, due to the non-availability of internet service, there are some technical issues that have been held back,” he said, adding that patient care is not suffering at all.