Cyprus Mail

Medical appointments left hanging after CY collapse

By Evie Andreou

Appointments for some patients at state hospitals have had to be cancelled following a problem bringing medical radioisotopes to the island after the closure of Cyprus Airways.

Although alternative methods of bringing the radioactive substances to Cyprus have been found only half the quantity ordered has arrived.

The health ministry had managed to secure transport of the drugs from France and England with Lufthansa through Vienna.

However since the whole cargo expected exceeded the permitted level of radioactive materials the plane could carry, almost half the drugs have remained in Vienna.

The Bank of Cyprus Oncology Centre made separate arrangements, via an Austrian airlines flight on Saturday, and received the drugs as planned.

Head of the Nuclear Medicine Lab at the Limassol General Hospital Dr Rena Demetriadou said that although some drugs had arrived treatment for five patients with hypothyroidism had been cancelled since they did not have radioactive iodine.

“Problems with transportation affect treatments and prognoses. A permanent solution must be found,” said head of the Cyprus Association of Cancer Patients and Friends (PASYKAF), Nicolas Philippou.

Because they emit radiation, the medicines are packaged in special containers made of lead, and delivered to medical centres once a week.

Nuclear medicine uses radiation to provide diagnostic information about the functioning of a person’s specific organs, or to treat them.

The health ministry said last week the solution found for the transport of the drugs by Lufthansa was a permanent measure, but said on Tuesday they were trying to find a solution.

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