Plea of Sarajevo Cancer Patients Mobilizes the Media

Calls for help from cancer patients whose treatment in a Sarajevo clinic was paused because of equipment malfunction resonated with the local media in the city. Reporters of several television stations, news websites and print newspapers arrived Tuesday morning to the oncology ward of the Sarajevo University’s Clinical Center, KCUS, to cover the recent developments that could leave tens of patients without a critical radiation therapy.

The clinic’s two external radiation therapy machines, both years old, stopped working late last week. Since the radiation therapy must be administered continuously to be effective against life-threatening cancers, the patients now fear that they will have to start over the treatment cycle. For some of them, losing time could mean the difference between life and death.

Patients fear that they will have to start over the treatment.

“I had a plan to stay alive, I believed in this (treatment at the clinic). This is a trap,” Zdena Šarić, a cancer patient receiving radiation therapy, told N1 television.

According to the patients currently admitted to the oncology ward, the radiation machines were on and off lately due to frequent malfunctions. The ward’s chief physician told the reporters that an alternative solution would be to transfer the patients to the other three clinics in Bosnia that have the radiation therapy capacity. However, the coverage might be an issue, as that move would require a payment deal with those clinics. Chances that there will be enough beds in other clinics are slim.

The KCUS administration issued a press release later on Tuesday, blaming the contractor that maintains the radiation equipment for the malfunction and promising more effort to resolve the situation.

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