Special ward to treat patients exposed to radiation

Delhi-based Lok Nayak hospital reacts to Mayapuri incident


Sonal Matharu | April 19, 2010

A special ward to treat patients of radiation exposure will be set up at the Lok Nayak hospital in central Delhi, following the leakage of radioactive Cobalt-60 in Mayapuri scrap market earlier this month. The Chemical Biological Radiation and Nuclear (CBRN) facility will be developed here with help from the Disaster Management Authority.

Dr Manju Mehra Rao, additional medical superintendent, Lok Nayak hospital, said on Monday, “The area has been earmarked in the hospital premises to develop such a unit and officials from the army hospital, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) have already inspected it.”

Though the project is still at the planning stage, this will be the third government hospital to have the facility to treat patients exposed to radiation. At present, Base hospital and JPN trauma centre at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) are equipped to handle such calamities. Unfortunately, doctors in other hospitals are not trained to treat radiation exposure cases. The facilities at these hospitals are not up-to-date either.

“Special vehicles to bring these patients to hospital are needed. The doctors who would be treating radiation patients would also need special training and protective gears,” said Dr Rao, explaining that the project would take a lot of time and resources to become functional. Ideally, facilities to treat patients exposed to radioactive material should be outside the city. There is always a possibility of the radioactive substance leaking in the surrounding areas, she added.

Quashing allegations that the radioactive substance reached the scrap market from a city hospital, Rao said, “The hospitals follow very strict norms for disposing radioactive waste. At the Lok Nayak hospital, if we have to dispose off radioactive waste, we get in touch with BARC and follow the guidelines they give us.”

On April 9, radioactive Cobalt-60 leaked at a shop in the Mayapuri scrap market. Eight victims till date have been affected in the area. Six patients are admitted in isolated wards at AIIMS, the owner of the scrap shop – Deepak Jain – is recovering in Indraprastha Apollo Hospital and another victim is admitted in the Army Research and Referral Hospital. 



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