Chennai: Fourteen breast cancer surgeries in a single day. Doctors in the oncology department of Rajaji Hospital in Madurai felt the feat would earn them a place in the Guinness Book.
Instead, it has landed them in controversy. The medical fraternity has been near unanimous in condemning them for putting the lives of patients in danger for the sake of a record and they now face a probe. The doctors performed 14 breast cancer surgeries in three-and-a-half hours on August 24.
"I would open the affected breast, remove the tumour and move on to the next patient. My assistant and a post-graduate student would then close the cut. By the time I moved to the fourth patient, the first patient would be ready to be sent to the recovery room and the next patient would be wheeled in," Dr BKCR Mohan Prasad, head of the oncology department, claimed to the media on Thursday. Four patients were operated at one go. Mohan Prasad and his team then decided to send details to the Guinness Book.
Oncologists were quick to express shock at the speed at which the surgeries were conducted. It takes at least one hour, including preparation time, for one such surgery. Rushing through the process could place the life of the patient in danger, they said.
"We won`t allow government doctors to work for the cause of entering the Guinness Book at the cost of patients. The doctors may have tried to prove a point that a government hospital is as well or better-equipped than a private or corporate hospital, but they can`t put the lives of patients at risk,"Tamil Nadu`s health minister MRK Paneerselvam said on Friday.