Diamond mining has been around for almost 150 years in South Africa. Over the years, the diamond mining industry has seen technological innovations that improved productivity, safety and security at operations.

A full body X-ray machine is one of the innovations used to detect and prohibit diamond theft in the diamond industry. This innovation did not only save diamond operators millions of Rands, but it would also go on to save many lives once it was found to be useful in the medical profession.

Mining, often blamed for causing and accelerating lung-related diseases among deep level miners, ironically gifted global healthcare with the full body X-ray Lodox Systems scanner. Designed to help detect stolen diamonds, it was, from 1999 adapted for its ability to obtain full body images in a matter of seconds. It’s especially valuable in assessing trauma victims with only minimal manipulation of the patient required, treating multiple gunshot injuries, peripheral skeletal injuries or finding the precise location of any foreign objects.

Its ‘cousin on steroids’, is the CAT scan or Computed Axial Tomography scan, which has revolutionised diagnostics, especially in cancer, stroke, problems with blood flow, injuries to internal organs and damage to bones. It was invented in 1972 by South African physicist Allan Cormack and British engineer Godfrey Hounsfield. An X-ray source and electronic detectors rotate around the patient and collect all the data needed to produce a cross-sectional view of the body. Both scanners are now in everyday hospital use across the world.

This article was is an excerpt from SA’s challenges give birth to world-class innovation which was first published in Business Guide to Quality Healthcare.

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