23 September, 2020

Abide With Me At Eventide

A doctor's efforts to improve the condition of terminal patients has become a social movement

Abide With Me At Eventide
Dr Suresh Kumar looked out of his window. It was 1993, and it was not without a sense of irony that his helplessness was brought home to him. An anaesthetist, he could do little to soothe the excruciating pain of all those terminal cancer patients outside. The conventional social support system was too fragile to cope with people who had fallen out of even the pale of modern medicine. His response evolved gradually: it started with a special clinic he set up in the northern Kerala district of Kozhikode to addresses the needs of terminal cancer patients in a humane manner.

Eleven years later, his initiative has grown into a people’s movement—the Neighbourhood Network in Palliative Care (NNPC), which now covers all those who exhaust the scope of conventional medicine. Victims of advanced cancers, incurable neurological disorders, extreme cardiac or respiratory ailments and aids come under the purview of palliative care: treatment of those with incurable illnesses.

The NNPC evolved from first-hand knowledge of the inadequacies of a purely clinic-based approach. The...



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