Tuesday, August 8, 2000,
Chandigarh, India

L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Relieving pain of the dying

Aug 7 —Cancer patients are tormented by intolerable pain in their last days — sometimes lasting for weeks. Other than pain, the dying patients may have problems such as breathing difficulties or bloating of the abdomen.

Do the dying patients have to suffer so much? No, they do not have to. The answer to their problems is palliative care which means “specialised dying, or medical treatment, that reduces pain without curing the illness itself”.

The main aims of palliative care service are :

a) To provide free consultation.

b) To provide medicines at subsidised rates to poor patients.

c) To see that the patient need not suffer from unnecessary pain.

Doctors at Christian Medical College have launched Regional Palliative Services for the first time in the northern Region. The service is delivered by a multi-disciplinary team comprising a 20-member team of doctors; nurses and others in the allied field. This team is committed to providing palliative care to terminally ill patients of cancer, AIDS and other diseases both in the hospital and outside.

These services will be delivered by doctors and others in the allied field. The team’s advisers are Dr Robert Twycrous, Ms Gilly Burn and Dr M.R. Rajagopal, who is one of India’s top palliative care physicians. Dr Prema Zuchariah is the community adviser.

Palliative care means that patients die peacefully, but it does not solve the problem or make it disappear. The patients with terminal cancer are aware of the fact. Soon, this palliative service will move out from the hospital zone to the community.

People working in this field have to have special communication skills to prepare the terminal patients to die. They have to be truthful to the patient and be his counsellors, and friends. Since pain is very individual and cannot be shared, the patient and his family have to bear it alone. The advisers help them to bear it, by counselling and communicating.

Most patients ask doctors, “Why me?” The doctor helps them to find the answers themselves. Most of the times, the patients want to know if they can finish their jobs like getting their daughter married or build a house. The doctors providing palliative care encourage these patients to lead a normal and active life. Only in the last few days, when the pain is intense, is morphine given orally to the patients to relieve pain.

In the villages, the patient is never lonely as the whole village rallies around him, but in cities palliative care suffers from lack of family or community involvement. In such cases, like in the western countries and big metropolises a hospice is the answer.

Spice Telecom has provided free mobile services to people who can call these numbers for consultation 98140-05893, 98140-05873, 98140-05843. The numbers are of the Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, Sacred Heart Hospital Maqsoodan, Jalandhar, and St Francis Home, Pathankot, respectively. Since these services are free, people can communicate with the doctors providing of palliative care services and get information.

Palliative Care services strive to ensure that whether the terminally ill patient is at home or in hospital, his or her last days are lived without pain and other complaints.

Palliative Care adds bearable life to days rather than days to unbearable life. — AA



Northern railway pensioners donate eyes 
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA Aug 7 — The Northern Railway Pensioners Welfare Association organised an eye donation camp under the auspices of the Rural Hospital, Mansuran, yesterday. Dr Ramesh, (Eye Specialist), inaugurated the camp and stressed the importance of donating eyes after death. 

Dr Ramesh revealed that in the whole world, there are about 5 crore blind persons and in India the number is about 1.25 crore. Eyes donated can be implanted within 24 hours and the chances of success are upto 80 per cent. Dr Ramesh revealed that declaration by intending donors were obtained in the presence of a group of people so that at the time of need the doctor concerned is informed by any one, other than the grief-stricken relatives. Five members agreed to donate their eyes on the occasion.


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