Nine government medical colleges in the state that were pulled up by the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) for not providing safety equipment to doctors and technicians exposed to radiation have put protective measures in place.
Radiology sections at government medical colleges attend to around 500-550 patients a day. In August and November 2016, HT had reported how government medical colleges were exposing staff in the radiology department to health risks by not providing them thermo-luminescent dosimeter or TLD badges. These badges have meters to measure radiation exposure of the staff when they take X-rays.
A Right To Information activist on May 19 filed a complaint on the violations with the AERB. The board officials, who recently sent an action taken report to the activist, said all hospitals have secured the badges, while JJ Hospital and Grant Medical College are yet to submit a response. “The AERB had sent reminder notices to colleges to secure badges and got in touch with Renentech Radiation Services, an AERB-accredited laboratory which manufactures the equipment, as some colleges had reported a delay in delivery,” said Dr Pankaj Tandon, head, medical applications section.
According to experts, the absence of badges also makes it difficult to evaluate if a staff member has been exposed to hazardous levels of radiation. “Radiation can either cause cancer or affect the reproductive system of an individual. Badges are important as exposure readings are checked every three months. If an individual records higher exposure than permissible, he barred from the department for 2-3 months,” said the activist.
Officials confirmed they have sent a notice to Dr TP Lahane, dean of Sir JJ group of Hospitals, for not providing the badges to its employees. “It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure the availability of personnel monitoring services to all radiation workers in the institution. No person shall operate radiation generating equipment without using TLD badges,” read the notice. Dr Lahane was asked to submit a response within 15 days or face regulatory action by AERB. Lahane said the notice was sent to him by mistake. “We have told the AERB the notice was sent to us by mistake. We provide badges to our staff,” he said