The city will soon have its — and eastern India’s — first gamma-ray clinic, where doctors will operate on brain tumours without shedding a drop of blood. A Bengal-German joint venture is underway to implement the project.
The state government has tied up with Lekshell, a German organisation, to set up the brain treatment and operation centre at NRS Medical College. Neurosurgeon M.S. Gour will operate on patients.
At present, there are three such clinics in the country — two in Delhi and one in Mumbai — where the cost of surgery is around Rs 1 lakh, excluding boarding. In Calcutta, officials claim, brain tumour operation by the gamma-ray process will not be more than Rs 50,000.
Health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra and senior officials held several rounds of talks with the German agency to finalise the draft agreement. A sum of Rs 30 crore has been estimated for the project.
“The set-up will be unique and our people will not have to rush to Delhi or Mumbai spending lakhs for a brain operation any more. I expect the formalities to be over soon, so that we can start work,’’ Mishra said.
“Hundreds of patients travel to Delhi and Mumbai for brain tumour operations by the gamma-ray process. The Calcutta clinic will benefit people from the neighbouring states as well. It is a dream project for the city,’’ said S.N. Banerjee, special secretary in the health department.
Officials in the health department said Lekshell, a reputed organisation dealing in different ray-related equipment, will provide the gear for surgery and other diagnosis.
According to the draft agreement, the state government will provide land and infrastructure for the centre, while Lekshell will pump in funds.
The German organisation will also recruit surgeons and technicians and bear the clinic’s maintenance cost. The clinic’s income will go to Lekshell and the state government will charge only a nominal amount.
The centre will initially start functioning at NRS Medical College and will later be shifted to a separate building.
Poor patients will get concessions on brain surgery as per government norms, health officials said.
“It is a knife-less operation and quite different from the conventional method. In this process, the brain tumour is damaged and burnt with rays. There is no need for anaesthesia and patients can recover within a couple of hours of the operation. It is completely painless,’’ said special secretary in the health department Shyamal Basu.