Nguyen Thanh Binh, 44, from Bac Lieu

Doan Thi Loan from Vinh Long province said her husband has been receiving treatment for liver cancer for the last six months. Previously, for each follow-up exam, he needed a CT scan, so that physicians could assess his tumor. 

Loan and her husband were taken from Cho Ray Hospital, where he received treatment, to another medical establishment where he underwent scanning and received results within a day.

However, in early February. they received results after three days. So she has had to rent a room in HCM City while waiting for the results.

“I read in newspapers that Cho Ray Hospital is lacking machines and chemicals because of problems in bidding regulations. We are worried stiff about that. Cancer patients will suffer from this,” she said.

Nguyen Thanh Binh, 44, from Bac Lieu, said he was worried about dying because of the lack of machines. He was told on January 20 when he was undergoing radiation therapy that he needed to return to his hometown and come back to HCMCity  to receive radiation therapy only if he received a call from the hospital.

“Bac Lieu is far from HCM City, more than 300 kilometers. But I have no other choice than return to my home. Last week, I came to HCM City and had to wait until 9 pm to receive radiation therapy,” he said.

Bui Thi Dung, 58, also complained that radiation was delayed unexpectedly. Her husband has traveled to Cho Ray many times to ask for information. However, he received the same answer that his wife had to wait for her turn. 

Only on February 13 could the treatment continue. “Doctors had to work until 1 am,” Dung’s husband said.

Nguyen Van Do of Cho Ray Hospital said there were four modern accelerated radiation therapy machines, but only two are operational. The other two machines have been idle for the last year.

On average, about 400 patients need radiation therapy each day at Cho Ray. However, under current conditions, demand cannot be met.

Two machines stopped operation in Q2/2022 because the maintenance period ran out. The hospital is planning to buy a new maintenance package, but this cannot be implemented because of the problems related to bidding. 

The same situation is reported at the HCM City Oncology Hospital. There are 13 radiation therapy machines, the highest number in the country, but still cannot satisfy the demand.

Linh Giao