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The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. (FP)

Cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) will soon have a new Cobalt Machine.

It will replace the existing one, currently being used in the Clara Brathwaite Centre for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine, which is approaching the end of its lifespan. The installation of the new machine is expected to start on Thursday, April 4.

Dr. Radhakanth Shenoy, head of the Centre, said there were a number of options for dealing with those patients who may be impacted during the transition.

"Our patient load has 13 persons nearing the end of their treatment and we expect them to be completed on or before April 4," he said. "Additionally, there are seven patients with appointments for planning while there are 16 [patients] at various stages of planning and for whom the next phase is treatment on the machine. We are instituting alternative modalities of care [such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy] as necessary for these patients until the new machine is installed," he explained.

He further stated that if patients developed complications or had any concerns during the transition period, they should contact the Centre.

Chief Executive Officer of the QEH, Dr. Dexter James, said that they met with those patients who may be inconvenienced to explain the need for the change.

"The installation process will begin with the decommissioning of the existing machine which will take four days. Commissioning of the new machine will then follow and is expected to last for the period of four to five weeks, providing there are no delays. This includes a period of testing as well as the calibration of the machine to facilitate treatment planning. This process is to ensure that existing and future care will not be compromised and that treatments are provided safely and effectively," he explained.

According to the hospital’s management, the new Cobalt Machine will administer each session of treatment faster and more patients will be treated daily. The QEH also reassures patients that arrangements will be made with a service provider in a neighbouring country in the event of an emergency.

Patients may contact the Clara Brathwaite Centre for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine to address any issues before or during the installation period at 426-4128 or 436-6450.

melissa.rollock@barbados.gov.bb

Author: QEH/Melissa Rollock

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