Disease and debt trap
2013 September 23
Dr 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.