Published on: November 3, 2011

Bruce Davis' boat, Cuckoo, the sale of which funded furnishing of the training center

We have been so used to working in cramped quarters at Trivandrum Institute of Palliative Sciences (TIPS), that the availability of some space (albeit rented) for our Training Center is such a great luxury. Now there is some comfortable space to work in – when the volunteers come for their training programs, or when doctors, nurses and other professionals come for their six weeks’ courses. (We have six such courses in a year).

Bruce Davis

And we thought it befitting to name the center after Mr Bruce Davis. He funded the construction of the Institute of Palliative Medicine at Calicut, and is supporting us as well as several palliative care centers in India. He provided the funding for the “Bruce Davis Gold Medal” in Palliative Medicine for young doctors.

Bruce is a great human being who does not like to be in the lime light, few know him for his great contributions to Palliative Medicine in India, Hong Kong, UK and elsewhere. Sorry, Bruce, for putting up all this before the world to read, but we thought it important that contributions like yours are better known. They would so inspire others!

Mayor of Trivandrum, Ms K. Chandrika

The Worshipful Mayor of Trivandrum, Ms K. Chandrika lit the traditional lamp at 5.30pm on Tuesday 01 November 2011, thus declaring the training center open. Dr Vijayakumar, Professor of Community Medicine at Trivandrum Medical College, Dr M. Balakrishnan from S.U.T Hospital, Sri Vijayakumran Nair, founder of Rajeswari Foundation, Dr George Varghese from Ebenezer Palliative Care Center and Justice Hariharan Nair were among the dignitaries who attended the event.

New Indian Express came out with a report on the function and it showed a picture of “Cuckoo”, the boat that Bruce Davis and his wife had for 32 years. Sale of the boat had enabled funding the furnishing of the training Center. Please read Reema Narendran’s report,

A foreigner’s noble gesture to alleviate pain

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: What was once a boat that sailed in the seas of the West, has now become a training centre for doctors and nurses in palliative care, in the capital city. ‘Cuckoo’, the sailing boat that belonged to UK businessman Bruce Davis and his wife for over 32 years, was sold and the proceeds donated to city-based NGO Pallium India for setting up a training centre.

“Over the years, I have developed an enormous admiration for the palliative work done in Kerala and the interest and caring attitude shown by literally thousands of volunteers who are associated with this work,” said the limelight-shy Bruce Davis in an e-mail. This former businessman from Cornwall, in UK, had lost both his father and mother to cancer. Bruce Davis and his family members then set up a charitable trust for work related to pain relief for cancer patients.

“Our medical education is focused on imparting knowledge and skills, the head and the hands. What is often missing is the heart, or the attitude. We aim to integrate all three at the training centre,” said Dr M R Rajagopal, chairman of Pallium India.

Incidentally it was this trust that financed the Institute of Palliative Medicine in Kozhikode, after Bruce Davis came to know of the remarkable work being done there through Dr Robert Twycross from UK, who was in India to attend some workshops. Later Bruce Davis got involved with the hospitals at Vellore and Guwahati too.

“With palliative care attaining the form of a movement in the state, many health professionals, not just from other parts of the country but even from countries across the world, especially South-East Asia, used to visit us to learn and get trained. We never had even a proper workspace for them,” said Dr Rajagopal, who has named the centre after the philanthropist as Bruce Davis Training Centre.

A significant chunk of the training at the centre will be on communication, listening to the patient and the family, understanding their problems and not just the disease, and giving a person-centered care, attending to the psychological, social and spiritual problems of the patients.

Apart from this, the course covers the ethics of care, classification, assessment and management of pain, use of pain-killers, opioid pharmacology, opioid responsiveness, adverse effects, interventions in pain management and so on.

And the man who loved sailing, but sold the ‘Cuckoo’ for the cancer patients in the state wrote:”I have been honoured by working with the workers there. I will continue to do what I can as long as I am physically able.”

Maya Nair in The Hindu, November 2, 2011:


Pallium India, which has been spearheading the palliative care movement in Kerala, has opened the first formal Palliative Care Training Centre in the city.

The training centre has been named Bruce Davis Training Centre, in honour of Bruce Davis, head of a UK-based charity trust, who has been a benefactor of the palliative care movement in India for over a decade now.

The training centre was inaugurated by the Mayor, K. Chandrika, here on Tuesday.

“The Medical Council of India had taken a decision in December last to begin MD course in Palliative Medicine. While this is a positive development, it could be a while before this gets to the implementation stage. The new training centre is Pallium India’s effort towards encouraging professional education in palliative medicine, the chairman of Pallium India,” M. R. Rajagopal, said.

“We have decided to name our centre after Bruce Davis, out of our affection for this individual, who has been personally involved in the palliative care work of Pallium India and has remained a source of great inspiration and strength for us,” Dr. Rajagopal said.

Bruce Davies had set up his charitable trust in the UK in 1967 and was working in the area of cancer care. By the 1980s, the work done by the Trust had spread nationally into a most effective force for the relief of pain, both physical and mental, for cancer patients and others suffering from terminal illnesses.

Following the great improvement of cancer care in the UK, the Trust decided to use the expertise that they had gained in the home environment for the betterment of cancer care services in other countries where such services were almost nil.

The Bruce Davis’ Trust’s association with the palliative movement in Kerala began in the late 1990s when one of the Nurse Consultants of the Trust visited Kozhikode. Since then, the Trust has been supporting all activities related to the palliative movement in Kerala financially as well by way of rendering training to nurses and volunteers.

The new training centre set up by Pallium India is intended as a national-level centre to train doctors and nurses and to empower NGO initiatives in the area of palliative care because formal training facilities in palliative medicine is next to nothing in the entire country.

The six-weeks’ course which has been planned by Pallium India now will devote one-third of the training programme towards pain management while another one-third will deal with how psychological and social support should be extended to patients as well as addressing issues of rehabilitation.

“How should a doctor `listen’ to his patient? Learning to listen to a patient and to respond to him/her is something that a doctor working in this field should train himself for,” Dr. Rajagopal said.

Handling the medical complications of various illnesses, how to start a palliative care service are also dealt with in the programme. [..]

2 responses to “Bruce Davis Training Centre Inaugurated”

  1. Dr.Lal says:

    Dear Bruce Davis,
    The kindness and love you are showing is really admirable and I don’t know how to appreciate you. I know that you did all these not to get any admiration and appreciation. Your unconditional love to the palliative care patients and the palliative care movement are ‘Godly’. Along with thousands of patients who benefitted and going to benefit, I also pray to the ‘Almighty’ to give his blessings in abundance to you and your family. Let your deed inspire others to share some of their money, mind and might for the suffering fellomen.

  2. Dr. Abu Laize C.B says:

    Dear Bruce,

    Appreciate your effort to alleviate the pain of suffering.
    Let this be an inspiration to others.