When Mallika came to the Government Stanley Hospital five months ago, she was emaciated. She had difficulty in swallowing, as there was a cancerous tumour in her oesophagus. “I was not able to eat for three months because of it,” she said.

The skinny agricultural labourer from Ariyalur underwent a biopsy, and gastroenterologists at the hospital urged her to return with her health insurance card for a medical procedure. “We realised that we had to do a procedure on her but we did not have the stent of the required length. We requested the company to customise it for her,” said A.R. Venkateswaran, head of the medical gastroenterology department. The 14-cm made-to-order stent was difficult to insert, as the tumour was located in the middle of the food pipe. The procedure had to be done without blocking the trachea (wind pipe).

“A block in the wind pipe could result in death,” the doctor said. Although procedure had been done earlier, in the past two-and-a-half years, it had been abandoned for want of supply of stents. Under the Chief Minister’s Health Insurance Scheme the hospital was able to procure the stent easily. Mallika would have spent around Rs. 85,000 for the procedure in a private hospital but at Stanley the entire treatment cost came to Rs. 32,000.

As the hospital had installed a digital radiography console in the department, Dr. Venkateswaran received the x-ray and CT scan images even as they were being uploaded into the hospital’s server. Doctors and postgraduate students in the department can now download the images on their mobiles and can also burn them on to CDs or email them to other hospitals for referral opinions. The picture archiving and communicating system is currently in use in seven departments, including the new surgical block and the casualty.

“We have also taught the nurses to check the images. Postgraduates have access to the images too, on their computers,” said Dean S. Geethalakshmi.

The hospital has proposals to extend this facility to other departments too shortly.

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R. SujathaJune 28, 2012

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