Dehradun: The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board’s (AERB) visit to the Government Doon Medical College (GDMC), recently, brought to light gross violations of radiation safety norms and absence of mandatory clearances, leading to the enforcement team sealing some of the College’s radiology department machines in use.
Besides sealing two X-ray and one mammography machine, warnings of seizure were pasted on CT scan, digital X-ray and Ultrasound machines, if necessary safety measures are not implemented within the compliance period of a month.
The enforcement team that visited the college included: Manju Saini, BK Singh, Rajshree Pai, LM Sharma and Ajit Singh. The enforcement team carried out a near-total raid of the Radiology unit.
There was a flurry due to the unexpected arrival of the team; with the administration floundering over questions asked. Virtually all machines installed were found to carry no registration.
Still worse was that those operating the machines were not wearing the mandatory Thermo Luminescent Dosimeter (TLD) badges used for measuring ionising radiation exposure. Another shock coming the team’s way was the ignorance expressed by those handling these machines, of TLD badges.
Being obsolete these machines were found to spell a grave health hazard for both the patients and those operating them. According to the AERB team leader, Mr BK Singh, the college had applied for registration in 2015-16. However, nothing was heard ever since from it. According to him, the team had observed that no X-ray machine operator was wearing the necessary Lead apron and no Quality Assurance (QA) measures were found to have been taken, by the concerned authorities.
He revealed that the team had observed that no X-ray machine operator was wearing the mandatory’lead apron’ and no Quality Assurance (QA) measures were found to have been taken, by the concerned authorities.
“The TLD badges were not found anywhere and operators were taking dental X-rays on the big old machines thereby exposing the whole body of the unsuspecting patients to the harmful radiations. These rays have a negative effect on the body and pituitary the master gland, in particular, is most susceptible to the radiations. Prima facie every equipment of the department looked dangerous. In view of the heavy patient flow and the problem it may cause to them we are letting off the department with a warning for some of the important machines. However, the department has only one month’s time to take the necessary measures and take permission failing which we will have no option but to seal all the machines,’’ he told Pioneer.
However, Principal Doon Medical College, Dr Pradeep Bharati Gupta defending the institution said the fault lay with the state health department which had failed to get the necessary clearances at the time of installation of the machines. The shift of the hospital to the medical college, had led to the registration process being initiated and that was what had brought the AERB team to the college, he added.
The shift of the hospital to the medical college, had led to the registration process being initiated, and that was what had brought the AERB team to the college, he added.
He revealed that a compliance period of a month had been granted to the college for machines in use and it was only the non-operational equipment that had been sealed. He also informed that the permit renewal process was already underway.
AERB founded in 1983, under Atomic energy is meant to regulate safety at college hospitals. Its mission is to ensure that ionising radiation and nuclear energy does not cause undue health risk along with the safety of the upkeep of environmental safety, reports the Pioneer.