By Harmeet Shah Singh
NEW DELHI, India (CNN) — Health authorities in southern India have ordered an inquiry into reports that a government hospital carried out 14 breast-cancer surgeries in less than four hours in a bid for a Guinness World Record.
“We have seen these reports and will be inquiring what exactly has happened — whether one team performed the surgeries or whether there were several of them,” S. Vinayagam, director of medical education in Tamil Nadu state, told CNN Friday.
Local news reports quoted the hospital’s oncology head saying that a team of three doctors, including himself, conducted the operations non-stop on August 24 in three-and-half hours.
Four patients, he said, were opened “at one go”, according to a Times of India report.
“I would open the breast, remove the tumor and nodes and move on to the next patient. My assistant and a postgraduate student would close the wound,” the Times of India quoted the oncologist as saying.
By the time, he moved to the fourth patient, the first would be ready to be sent to the recovery room while the next was wheeled in, the chief oncologist reportedly said.
The Indian Medical Association (IMA) condemned the alleged attempt.
IMA chief Ashok Adhao insisted that one breast-cancer surgery by one team of doctors needed one-and-a-half hours at least to be fully successful.
“Nobody should be encouraged to do it in a hurry. It’s not advisable. It’s rather condemnable,” Adhao told CNN, calling the reported procedures a “publicity stunt.”
And even if the doctors did conduct surgeries they still will not receive a Guinness World Record, a spokesman for the organization said.
“We do not monitor this record category and would not welcome an application for it,” said Damian Field, a Guinness World Record spokesman.