Neurology and Palliative Care at World Congress of Neurology

2013 September 29

“There cannot be first, second and third worlds.  There can only be one world”, declared Dr Vladimir Hachinski, president of the World Federation of Neurology in his presidential address at the World Congress of Neurology held in Vienna from 21 to 26 September 2013. The theme of the congress was “Neurology in the era of globalization”.

There were sessions devoted to pain management and to palliative care. The paid courses on these subjects were full, indicating the rising perception of the problems of those with life-limiting illnesses. Dr Borasio from Switzerland and Dr Rajagopal (chairman, Pallium India) jointly chaired a session on palliative care which was well-attended, most of the delegates being neurologists. The presentation on palliative care in India, particularly highlighting what we do here for people with not-so-glamorous diagnoses like Paraplegia, received much attention. Dr Wendy Johnston from Canada, one of the speakers, said, “Only when I saw palliative care physicians in action did the realization strike me: we neurologists are more interested in diagnoses and precise localization of lesions than in how to care for the patients!”

Interestingly, though many Indian neurologists had attended the congress, none was present at the palliative care session.  We are not being effective in our advocacy!

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