Srinagar, Jan 07: After years of wait, the Positive Emission Tomography (PET) scan facility at SK Institute of Medical Sciences Soura was finally inaugurated on Sunday.
The facility will be available for the patients from today (January 8).
But the cost for the scan seems unaffordable for many patients, who as per the hospital authorities have to shell Rs 14,500 for each scan. The rate is high as compared to AIIMS where a full-body PET scan costs only Rs 7,500.
“I am happy that this machine will be functional here and but I was expecting affordable rates. I don’t have that much money. All I can do is to meet my daily needs. I don’t think I will be able to avail this facility for my Son. I cannot afford it,” said Ali Mohammad, whose son is admitted in the hospital.
Another patient’s mother who wish not to be named said, “My husband finds it hard to run a family and is struggling with a disease. From where shall I get the money?” she asked.
Dr Tanveer Ahmad Rather, Associate Professor, Department of Nuclear Medicine at SKIMS said if the hospital charges lesser money, it would affect the economic viability of the entire PET facility.
“We have done proper research before the inauguration of this equipment. We have considered the finance and technical factors as well. No government or private hospital across the state has PET Scan, patients had to spend between forty and sixty thousand rupees to get the Scan examination done in private and that too outside the state,” he said.
Rather said that the hospital, if needed, can make exceptions for utterly poor patients.
“We have provisions for the poor people, who cannot afford Rs 14500 for the scan. There are exemptions as well. But once we start the scans of patients then only we will be able to comment on it further,” said the doctor wishing anonymity.
“We have to buy an isotope required for the scan examination yearly which cost around Rs 1 lakh. The rate is low compared to the private hospital outside. They are charging large amount for the similar scan,” the doctor said.
He said, “Cancer patients had to travel outside the state to get the scan done. But installing the machine is a big relief for every patient. This is a big step for all.”
PET is a nuclear imaging technique that creates detailed, computerized pictures of organs and tissues inside the body.
The scan can be used to detect cancerous tissues and cells in the body that may not always be found through CT scan or MRI.
The PET scan examination was announced in 2012 to upgrade the SKIMS capability to diagnose and treat the dreaded disease.
But due to the hospital administration mess and changing of locations, the PET scan was delayed. In 2016, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti directed the SKIMS to expedite setting up of PET scan facility and decided to personally monitor it.
The Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) at SKIMS Soura is the highest medical care for cancer patients in Kashmir. Established in 1988, it is one among the 27 RCCs functioning across India.