Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas is awaiting Swedish technicians to begin a $800,000 maintenance job on the Gamma Knife neurosurgery system installed at the hospital. We assume the system is from the Swedish firm Elekta AB, like this one. A fresh supply of radioactive cobalt will be delivered, which requires some extraordinary measures, very much unlike an oil change on your car.
From Wichita Business Journal:
The cobalt, which becomes radioactive after being placed in a nuclear reactor, is contained in a 40-thousand-pound leak-proof lead cask and has been deemed safe for patients, residents and visitors.
“This is the first time the radioactive material will be replaced in the surgical device, and it’s quite a process,” said Gamma Knife nurse manager Julie Anderson, in a written statement.
To accommodate the procedure, Wesley had to build a platform, take out a portion of a hospital wall and shut down the unit for a month to gauge and test for correct cobalt levels.
Wesley says the route of the truck that delivered the radioactive material was kept secret because of Homeland Security concerns.
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