At this moment, over a million people in India are in unimaginable pain. We refuse to look the other way. We choose to hear the cry, and to do what we can.
Please join us. Your help is needed.

They demand their right, and the Governor is sympathetic

2014 November 27

One step closer to making Trivandrum a wheelchair-friendly city

George Thomas and Ashla Rani both had met with accidents which changed their lives, nevertheless they mean to make their lives worthwhile. On the 25th of November, they met the Hon’ble Governor of Kerala, P. Sathasivam, with a request: They asked his help in their efforts to make Trivandrum a wheelchair-friendly city. Many streets in Trivandrum now have good pavements, but they do not have ramps to help people on wheelchairs get down to and out of the road. Almost none of the public buildings in the city is wheelchair-friendly, leave alone public transport. Pallium India was privileged to accompany George and Ashla Rani to the meeting with Governor Sathasivam.

You might like to know that George was recently selected to the Kerala physically disabled cricket team and Ashla, who had passed her Master of Computer Applications, is volunteering for Pallium India.

Ashla and George: Pallium India is privileged to work with you on your mission.


With the Governor of Kerala

Early palliative care results in improved quality of life and survival in patients with advance chronic respiratory disease

2014 November 25

Refractory breathlessness, i.e. breathlessness that continues despite optimal treatment of the underlying condition is common in patients with advanced disease; however, clinicians struggle to manage/palliate this symptom effectively.

In response to an unmet need, Dr Charles Reilly, (Consultant Physiotherapist in Chronic Respiratory Disease, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust) Prof Claudia Bausewein, (Professor of Palliative Medicine, Munich University Hospital, Germany) and Prof Irene Higginson, (Professor of Palliative Care and Policy, King’s College London; Director of the Cicely Saunders Institute, London, UK) developed an innovative integrated Palliative Care, Respiratory Medicine and Physiotherapy service known as the Breathlessness Support Service (BSS) to address the needs of these complex patients.

A patient who received the BSS described it as follows:

“The blissful thing is, you can control your breathing, if you get a bad spell you can work your way through it whereas previously when I was choking I really didn’t know what to do”. (Man with ILD – interstitial lung disease).

This is the first study demonstrating the benefit of early integration of palliative care for patients with advanced chronic respiratory disease, who traditionally may not easily get access to palliative care.

Read more at:

A piece of good news from Russia.

2014 November 23

Mr Diederik Lohman of Human Rights Watch writes…

The prosecutor has dropped the appeal against Alevtina Khorinyak, the Russian physician who was prosecuted for prescribing tramadol in violation of Russian rules to a friend dying in pain and was prosecuted for drug trafficking. In Russian: … Brings to an end this shameful episode.

Should we rejoice that Alevtina is acquitted or should we weep for the human stupidity that causes so much of human suffering all over the world?

To quote Shakespeare:
“How many ages hence
Shall this our lofty scene be acted over
In states unborn and accents yet unknown!”

And how much more needless suffering will have to continue before we come to our senses!

Assisted suicide or relief from suffering?

2014 November 19

Brittany Maynard, who became the public face of the controversial right-to-die movement over the last few weeks, ended her own life on November 1 at her home in Portland, Oregon. She had announced her decision to die by taking a fatal dose of barbiturates, prescribed to her by a doctor.

29-year old Maynard said goodbye in a message to her friends and family on Facebook before taking her own life.

Doctors gave Maynard six months to live earlier this year after diagnosing her with a form of brain cancer. She publicly announced her intention to move to Oregon so she could undergo physician-assisted suicide under the state’s Death With Dignity Act.

“My glioblastoma is going to kill me and that’s out of my control,” she said about her decision. “I’ve discussed with many experts how I would die from it and it’s a terrible, terrible way to die. So being able to choose to go with dignity is less terrifying.”

News from website

Quite understandably, people feel for her and ask us, whether we do not agree that she has taken the right decision. Our response is, it is the right decision for her. In the state to which she and her family moved, the society had agreed that she had a right to take this decision and the law had decided to permit it. The natural question is, if it is right for Oregon, should it not be right for us?

And we say, No.

We say No because, Brittany’s choice came after she had the choice of getting palliative care. This is the essential difference between USA and India – whatever be the shortcomings, the US system does provide for palliative care, while in our country, only a tiny minority of people have access to it. Under these circumstances, we should not go by the sensational decision of one person; but should rather take into consideration the mute suffering of millions in our country who are deprived of pain relief.

We repeat, we strongly believe that it is unethical for India to discuss assisted suicide, without first providing palliative care.

Palliative care in Bangladesh’s national plan for non-communicable diseases

2014 November 18

bangladesh“In Bangladesh, with its population of about 160 million people, the burden of NCDs has been rising at an alarming pace,” writes Dr. Rumana Dowla, Chairperson of the Bangladesh Palliative and Supportive Care Foundation. “In a review of 23 developing countries, Bangladesh had the ninth highest age-standardized mortality due to chronic diseases, such as primary cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.”

Dr Rumana Dowla represented the IAHPC at the WHO 67th session of the Regional Committee for South East Asia on 9-12 September 2014. She worked with officials from the Ministry of Health and succeeded in including palliative care in the national plan for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Read the news at IAHPC’s website: