Delhi's GTB hospital installing digital X-ray machines

New technology will protect staff and patients from excess radiation exposure

sonal

Sonal Matharu | April 26, 2010



Delhi government-run Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital said on Monday it was in the process of acquiring its fourth digital X-ray machine that reduces exposure to radiation during investigation. “Out of the total seven machines in hospital, three are digital and the hospital has finished all formalities for procuring the fourth machine,” said Dr. Satish Bhargava, head of department, radiology department, GTB Hospital.

Rays emitted during X-ray were not as harmful as the ones emitted by radioactive substances, but precautions for the protection of patients and the staff are necessary, he said. To ensure that the hospital staff is protected from radiation, they are provided with a protective kit which includes lead aprons, lead gloves and eye gear. All those working with radiation have to clip a thermo luminence dosimeter (TLD), a small device that records the amount of radiation a person is exposed to, on the clothes.

Every 15 days, a list of recording of the TLD readings of all staff is sent to Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) for evaluation. Based on BARC’s review, staff’s health is assessed. The machines are also serviced quarterly to check for any leakages. With the increasing workload, replacing the conventional X-ray machines with the digital ones can allow a person to operate on them for a longer duration.

“Though the time for which a person is exposed to radiation is the same, the radiation dose becomes less with the digital machines,” said Bhargava. The machines are being procured from a US-based company, GE, and it is called GE digital radiography system. Each machine costs Rs. 1.5 crore. However, Bhargava said that no indigenous manufacturing firm could supply such machines to the hospital because none have the licence from the Atomic Regulatory Board. “All the machines are procured from the multinationals which increases the cost,” he said.

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