September 2013 Newsletter

2013 September 30
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Dear Friends,

Our hats are very much in the ring.

Please take a minute to read the article posted on IBN-live:

To live and die with dignity, we need Morphine at Hospitals

With more support like this coming from the media for the amendment of the narcotics act, we are more hopeful than ever that the winter session of the Parliament will pass the amendment of the NDPS Act. But we cannot be complacent. There are 122 items waiting for legislation; and only a handful get done in any session. We also need to remember that the Lok Sabha had failed to take it up in the last two sessions. Only sustained pressure can help to solve the issue.

We are pledged to renew our advocacy efforts and are resolved to make the amendment happen during the winter session of the Parliament.

Please wish us well, and those who are in a position to help, please talk to all your friends in the media so that before the winter session of the Parliament, there is enough awareness.

Thank you, Wendy and Philip

photo(7)We miss you, Wendy and Philip. A lovely couple from New Zealand, Drs Wendy and Philip Pattemore gave us five months of their lives volunteering with us – teaching at our courses, helping with clinical work, doing whatever is needed. We miss you terribly, Wendy and Philip. We shall look forward to your next visit.

Mother’s love – a painting by Dr. Samadhi

imageDr Samadhi Rajapaksa, a Sri Lankan doctor, underwent Pallium India’s six weeks’ course in Palliative Medicine in July/August. His wife, Ms Nisansala Karunaratne had tagged along and showed us her amazing work.

It seems that Dr Samadhi is her disciple. This picture is his work – he painted it after being very much moved by his visit to the pediatric palliative care clinic that Pallium India and Departments of Pediatrics and Pediatric Neurology jointly run in the Government Medical College Campus, Trivandrum. Most of the children attending the clinic have neurological problems.

The child in the picture has no face. The mother is holding the baby to herself. She has tried hard to retain her femininity by the bindi on her forehead, but it is out of place.

Dear Dr Samadhi, your painting and your sensitivity move us. Thank you for your time with us.

Neighbors from across the sea

photo(4)We at Pallium India’s Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences are pleased to have three doctors and three nurses from Sri Lanka undergoing our six weeks’ certificate course. We thank them for merging so easily into our team.

Over the weekend of 28th and 29th of September, we were also pleased to have two distinguished visitors with us from Sri Lanka, Dr. Lakshmi C. Somatunga, Deputy Director General of Medical Services of Sri Lanka and Ms Neelamani Paranagama, director of Sri Lanka’s National Cancer Control Program. They spent the weekend making home visits with our team, having discussions with the trainees and having planning sessions with us.

Thank you visitors, and thank you Dr Suharsha Kanathigoda for making this visit happen. We are proud to be a part of the great pioneering movement in Sri Lanka.

Bruce Davis Gold Medal in Palliative Medicine

Wilfrid Bruce Davis MBEThere are many things that the palliative care community in India have to be thankful to Mr Wilfrid Bruce Davis for – like funding the construction of the Institute of Palliative Medicine at Calicut, like helping with establishment of the Bruce Davis Training Centre at Trivandrum, continued support to palliative care at Guahati, Assma, and so on.

One of his contributions was the establishment of the Bruce Davis Gold Medal in Palliative Medicine for young doctors. From this year onwards the examination for Bruce Davis Gold Medal will be available online. Candidates can log in to attend the exam and submit the answer script.

To apply for the exam and to participate in the Step I screening test, click here.

And thank you Bruce, once more.  How many lives have you touched!

Disease and debt trap

Ravikannan award from vice presidentDr Ravikannan, director of Cachar Cancer Center in Silchar, Assam, who had in June 2013 received the prestigious Mahaveer award from Hon’ble Hamid Ansari, vice-president of India, tells this story about one of his patients.

He had recommended chemotherapy followed by surgery for a woman with intra-abdominal cancer. After chemotherapy, she refused surgery. Dr Ravikannan tried his best to counsel the patient and persuade her to undergo the treatment, but the woman would not budge.

Later, from a relative he found out why. For the chemotherapy, the family had borrowed Rs 10,000 from a loan shark and now they were having to pay an interest of Rs. 1000 per month – an annual interest which was larger than the principal.  What an astounding debt trap! And what an example of the social hell to which patients and families get plunged!

Dr Ravikannan, the compassion that you displayed with your story explains more than adequately that you deserve that award, and many more to come.

Jiv Daya Family meets again in Delhi

photo(6)As a young idealistic doctor doing research in USA, Dr Vinay Jain had struggled to get proper treatment for his mother. Later, when he could afford to, he, with his wife, founded Jiv Daya Foundation (Dallas, USA) and spends his family’s money to help the suffering people in India.

In just a small number of years, Jiv Daya Foundation has developed an enormous network of 20 palliative care centers all over India.  The Foundation helps them with capacity building by funding a doctor, a nurse and a social worker-cum-data entry person and also provides them with equipment and mentoring for proper documentation. Participants representing all the centers got together at Delhi for an annual review on 21-22 September 2013. It was heart-warming to see that so much was happening all over the country.

Pallium India thanks you and your team, dear Dr Vinay Jain, for all that you are doing for us.

Neurology and Palliative Care at World Congress of Neurology

“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!

Collaborative teaching; Thank you Dr Odette Spruyt and thank you Hewlett-Packard India

Dr Odette Spruyt, head of Palliative Medicine at Peter MacCallum Cancer Center, Melbourne, Australia, did a 90 minute interactive teaching session for participants at Pallium India’s 6 week certificate course in Palliative Medicine. The participants were 7 doctors – three Sri Lankans and four Indians. Dr Odette was in Melbourne and the trainees were in Trivandrum. Thank you Hewlett-Packard for providing this facility to Pallium India funded by HP Sustainability and Social Innovation. It opens up the world to us for excellence in education for our staff and trainees.

2 day Refresher Course in Pain and Palliative Medicine at Trivandrum

Pallium India’s Trivandrum Institue of Palliative Sciences (TIPS) and Pain Clinic, Sree Chitra Thirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) Trivandrum welcome you to a 2 day Refresher Course in Pain and Palliative Medicine at Trivandrum. The objective is to update knowledge and skills in Palliative Medicine, to exchange experiences with peers, to keep abreast of the latest advances in the subjects and to create the culture of learning and self development. (Considering the feedbacks from our Delhi course in 2012, we have included more practical sessions this time.) Date : 7,8 December, 2013 Venue : Auditorium 2, SCTIMST, Medical College Campus, Trivandrum-11. Eligibility : Doctors who have had a minimum of 10 days’ practical hands-on training in Palliative medicine are invited. Faculty :

  • Dr. Odette Spruyt, Melbourne
  • Dr. M.R. Rajagopal, Trivandrum
  • Dr. Rajashree Suresh, Calicut
  • Dr. Charu Singh, Cochin
  • Dr. Ajmal, Thalassery

How to apply: Please click on the following link to go to the application page. Before applying keep a Cheque /DD of Rs. 1,000/- (registration fee) in favour of “Pallium India” payable at Trivandrum ready. You will be asked to enter the details of Cheque/DD to complete the application process. Application Form

Registration fee : Rs. 1,000/-
Last date for Application : October 31, 2013
Contact : Dr. Abu Laize C.B, 9746745499, apm@palliumindia.org
Number of seats : To encourage interaction, we are forced to limit the number of participants to 30.

Welcome and Happy Learning – Organising Committee

IAPC Conference: Abstract submission deadline extended

21st International Conference of Indian Association of Palliative Care

21st International Conference of Indian Association of Palliative Care

Abstract submission deadline extended

Last date : 30th October 2013

Good news for those who couldn’t submit abstract for IAPCON 2014 before 31st August 2013. Abstract submission deadline has been extended. Last date of submission of abstracts is 30th October 2013. Don’t miss out this opportunity! For guidelines to submit  abstract, please visit the conference website.

Palliative Medico Training Program

Pallium India offers three days course at Trivandrum for budding doctors.

To equip them to efficiently treat pain and suffering and thus discover  more pleasure in their everyday work, Pallium India now offers to medical students from Kerala University of Health Sciences, a three day course. It will be conducted soon after the declaration of the Final year examination, but before the beginning of the compulsory rotating internship.

For details, see http://palliumindia.org/courses/medicotraining/ There are only 30 seats on a first-come-first-served basis. –

PARTING SHOT

SunilWhat a thoughtful gift!

Dr Sunilkumar, an anesthesiologist from UK, has an apartment in Trivandrum. There must be thousands of apartments like this in Trivandrum belonging to Non-Resident Indians. Their upkeep costs a lot and usually serve the owners as a place to stay for a few days when the family comes on an occasional holiday.

Dr Sunilkumar decided to put the apartment to good use. He has lent it to Pallium India to accommodate our guests and visitors. This was a badly needed facility.

Dr Sunilkumar is also supporting the education of one girl from Pallium India’s “Kids’ Kollective” – children of patients’ families. The girl has one desire – to become a doctor. It is an expensive affair and thanks to Dr Sunil’s support, she is going through the required coaching for her entrance examination.

Dear Dr Sunil, the world is a better place because of people like you.

Please email us at info@palliumindia.org or visit http://palliumindia.org/donate/

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