The last words of comfort
Palliative Care in Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre
Though a cure for cancer is yet to be found by scientists and experts, every care is now taken to ensure that the incurable does not suffer the pangs and agonies and breathes his last comfortably. This is how Cachar Cancer Hospital and ResearchCentre located at Meherpur Silchar has made this its prime concern under the able guidance and leadership of
Dr. Ravi Kannan, Director. There has been a stream of professional visitors from home and abroad with specializationin palliative care to this centre of cancer treatment. Among them mention may be made of Priya Patel, Director of Operations and Mayank Singhal, Director of Development, India Run for Hope, USA.
Their organization extended support to the palliative care unit of the Hospital through the Indo-American Cancer Association. Dr. Meg O’ Brien, Director, Global Access to
Pain Relief Initiative, Washington, and Charu Singh, Consultant, Pallium India, during their visit to the Hospital offered theirvalued suggestions to improve access to essential medicines and launched the pain free hospital initiative. As Dr. O’ Brien said, “At the end of the year, all patients will be routinely asked about their pain which will be promptly and appropriately treated. It is an initiative that takes into consideration the pain scales of patients and the best measures to minimize them.”
Quite significantly, a team of doctors from Australia with their in-depth knowledge of palliative care also came to the hospital and apart from studying the various facilities and the philosophy of the centre, they engaged themselves in teaching sessions with the nurses, time in outpatient care, serving as examiners for the six week course in palliative care. “When a cancer patient reaches the stage where the hope of his survival is dim, words of comfort and consolation provide him with emotional support and strength to live the last days, forgetting the pains and the suffering,” pointed out Dr. Ofra Fried associated with India Pallium and Australian Palliative Link International while talking to Eastern Panorama. Dr. Ofra Fried along with Dr. David Brumley and nurse Sarah Corfe also came all the way to this Hospital with the sole objective of treating and taking care of the patients who are counting down their last days.
Palliative care, Dr. Ofra Friedpatient afflicted with the dreaded disease. It would be barbaric and inhuman to allow an incurable patient to opt for self-killing and there is no country in the world which has a legislation to permit it, she added to say. Both the doctor and the nursing staff “make every possible effort to control the symptoms that lead to unbearable pain,” she opined. It is the objective of palliative care to allow a patient to live the rest of life free from suffering.
During their week-long stay at the centre, all of them spent a few hours every day by the side of the seriously ill and sick and administered them necessary medication besides giving suggestions and guidelines to the members of the family. It was a rewarding experience for them as they could understand a patient and morally boost them up to overcome the trauma of being cast down, physically and mentally.
Apart from being by the side of patients in the hospital, they also visited a good number of them in the areas of Kalain, Hailakandi, Lakhipur and Silchar with the staff of this treatment centre. The services rendered to them and medicines provided were part of their philanthropic mission. Dr. Ofra Fried explained it was “a new programme” for them as earlier they concerned themselves in different areas of cancer treatment. “Their prime concern now is the best of care for the unfortunate cancer patients,” she further pointed out. All of them were at the centre to help this hospital as they did in Australia. In their native country of Australia also, their area of work is not only in the hospitals but at the homes. “A patient should be made to feel that he is not alone in his distress,” she stated. Research on palliative care goes on with the sole objective of providing not only the best of care but also better quality of life.
Speaking about the hospital, Dr. Ofra Fried, Dr. David Brumley and Sarah Corfe said it was well located and from what they had gathered after meeting and interacting with the patients in the wards in general, they were pleased with the treatment being provided. Despite all the constraints and shortage of manpower, the staff and the nurses work as a team. They were also happy to note the palliative care given to the patients in and at homes. This hospital is growing and quite naturally considering the increasing number of patients, it calls for more accommodation and also the modern equipments and machines.
Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, as Dr. Ofra Fried pointed out, has great prospects and they have been immensely inspired to see the hard work put in by the doctors led by the eminent onco-surgeon, Ravi Kannan, and his dedicated team of medical staff and nurses. Though the causes of cancer are yet to be identified, Dr. Ofra Fried called for equal stress on a campaign against smoking both in India and Australia. The areas of the human body affected by cancer in this country are primarily in the ear, nose and throat (ENT) while in Australia it is the skin, lung and intestine which are most commonly affected. Breast cancer, she admitted, was becoming a global phenomenon and is a cause of alarm and concern. She is confident the day “is not far off when cancer will no longer be dreaded but curable.” Kalyan Chakraborty, chief administrative officer of CCHRC, was present by the side of the Australian medical team.