St Joseph’s radiation machine down again

ERROL Greene, regional director of the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), said on Monday that overloading could be one of the causes that led to a circuit board inside a radiation machine at St Joseph’s Hospital in Kingston being damaged over the weekend.

Greene said, too, that a power surge could be one of the possible causes as well.

Some patients were transferred to a health facility in Montego Bay, St James, three weeks ago, the previous time the machine broke down. The problem was fixed on that occasion, according to Greene, but the machine, which serves more than 70 people on a daily basis, broke down again on Saturday.

“The one in Montego Bay only does 12 people a day. Our numbers are five times what they do in Montego Bay. There is always a backlog [in Kingston] even when the machine is working, [because] the demand is greater than our capacity. We understand the urgency of the situation and we are pulling out all the stops to get the circuit board here in the shortest possible time,” Greene told the Jamaica Observer Monday.

People, including cancer patients with appointments on Monday, had to be rescheduled.

“The engineers were there looking at it today and the estimated time for us to receive it is three days. As soon as the circuit board is received we will be back in service,” Greene said Monday.

He said that arrangements were made three weeks ago to transfer patients requiring radiology services to a medical facility in Montego Bay, St James, but stated that there is no need at this time to make similar arrangements.

Those patients, he said, were at the end of their treatment, and to ensure completion they were sent to Montego Bay.

“It cost them nothing,” he added. “If it was difficult for them it would be the time they were away from home and the commute to and from Montego Bay.”

SERHA, he said, has been assured that that the part for machine at St Joseph’s should be available within the next three days.