In India, many villagers are slaves to tobacco usage in one form of another. Due to continuous usage of these things, most of them are affected with cancer in the throat. When this happens, a surgery for removal of voice box is done as a treatment to this cancer. In addition to facing the trauma associated with surgery, getting to know that they cannot speak any more adds more pain to the patients. Even though, there are devices called as prosthesis available in the market to help these patients speak, poor people in the nation cannot afford for the unit as it costs Rs.20,000. Also, the device needs to be changed once in six months adding further problem to the already tough financial situation of patients.
Bengaluru specialist found a solution:
There are many ENT Doctors in Bengaluru and one of these ENT specialists Dr. Vishal Rao, who is actually an oncologist and head and neck surgeon has designed a voice device that costs just Rs.50. The doctor has named it Aum voice Prosthesis and the doctor stated that himself and his industrialist friend Mr. Shashank Mahesh, who gave industrial support for the project decided to name the device as Aum because, this is known to the first sound that echoed around the world. This duo calls it $1voice box with a view to match international standards.
So, far three of the patients of Dr. Rao has benefited from this voice device. The doctor proudly shares that the device has recently received the state honors for innovation at the conference of oncologists. The duo has plans to keep track of the functionality of the voice device and they will make the appropriate upgradation if any required. Dr. Rao belongs to HCG Hospital in Bengaluru and the scientific and ethical committee at this hospital has given acceptance for further research on the device.
How the duo did the invention?
When the technical details were taken care by Dr. Vishal Rao, the industrial support was provided by his friend named Mr. Shashank, who looked into the feasibility of the project. They begin their work by importing platinum cured silicone from Germany for designing the voice device. Before actually inventing the device, the doctor wanted to make sure that the silicone would not react with the body tissues. Finally, they arrived at this most useful device to help poor patients with throat cancer and got their voice box removed.
How does it work?
Dr. Rao, who is one of the ENT doctors in Bengaluru, stated that this unit measures just 2.5cm and it weighs just about 25 grams. The device will be pierced through the neck and connected to the food pipe of the patient and then it will start functioning as a voice box.
First ever benefited patient:
When talking about the first recipient of this device, the Doctor shared that one of his patients named Ramakrishna from Peenya was suffering from throat cancer. The reason for his cancer is that as he was a watchman, he used to smoke beedi all night to keep himself awake. He got his voice box removed as the treatment towards cancer. Also, the doctor recommended him a western prosthesis, which costed him Rs.20,000. Even though, this device has a shelf-life of just six months, this patient used it for two years due to trouble in spending for the device again. After using these many days, he experienced food leakage from the device and came to the doctor for help. As Dr. Rao has just innovated the new voice box, he gave it to the patient just for Rs.50, which made him really happy. As he regained the speech at a friendly cost, he thanked the doctor with great smile on his face and Dr. Rao said that the satisfaction and smile of the patient was the biggest gift for him in life.
Many such innovations are likely to be made by the young Indian minds to help out patients, who are looking for affordability. Let the service of the doctor continue to this nation!