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.

Pallium India invites nominations for our board of trustees

2020 January 31

Pallium India trust would like to add two persons to our board of trustees – a person who has gone through serious health-related suffering (SHS) and one who has been a caregiver to someone in SHS for a protracted period of time.

We would particularly welcome anyone who is familiar with the concept of palliative care and with Pallium India and agrees with the vision, mission and core values of Pallium India.

Nominations would be screened by a screening committee from among the trustees of Pallium India for preliminary selection and then submitted to the board of trustees for approval. Interested people may nominate themselves or nominate someone else, with curriculum vitae, any supporting documents and contact details.

Nominations are to be sent to:

Last date for receipt of nominations: 5 February 2020.

Palliative care educational program intervention: 22 & 23 February 2020

2020 January 31

Pallium India joins the chief organiser, Regional Cancer Centre Trivandrum, Cancer Relief India and Indian Medical Association in organising the following two events.

Please note that the first day (22 Feb) is an introductory course for freshers including doctors, nurses and medical students.

The second day’s event (23 Feb) is a refresher course for doctors who have already been trained in palliative care.

Dr Suresh Reddy, MD Anderson Cancer Centre, Texas, USA, Dr M V Pillai, haemato-oncologist from USA, Miss Gilly Burn from UK and Dr Ann Broderick from Iowa, USA will be the visiting faculty joining the Indian team.

Dr CV Prasanth of Regional Cancer Centre Trivandrum is the organising secretary.

Please see the poster for the contact information and venue.

Golden butterflies spread their wings: Collaboration is the key

2020 January 31

Golden butterflies in Chennai demonstrate how 1+1 can be 3. They work with institutions and other non-government organizations (NGOs) to infuse heart into medicine.

Pallium India had the privilege to be part of an event in Kanchi Kamakoti CHILDS Trust Hospital, Nungambakkam, Chennai where Golden Butterflies brought together doctors of eminence as well as trainees and other staff for a discussion on palliative care. The discussions included pain management, social support and end of life care. In addition to the presentation by Pallium India, Dr. Revathi Raj of Apollo Cancer, Dr. Julius Scott of Paediatric Oncology Department, of SRMC, Dr. Rejiv Rajendranath of Intergrated Cancer Care and Dr. Arathi Srinivasan spoke.

When remembering the resistance that palliative care met with in the 1990s, this acceptance of palliative care by the larger medical community was indeed heart-warming.

Later, we also visited RMD palliative care centre run by Dr Republica Sreedhar and team, with whom Golden Butterflies is collaborating to set up a cheerful room for children needing inpatient palliative care.

Poem for Pallium: A Note from a Visitor

2020 January 30

Nick Surawy Stepney, a PhD Student at King’s College London, whose research concerns morphine use in northern India, spent 2 weeks in Pallium India. Working with palliative care teams, regulators, and pharmaceutical companies, he aims to understand how morphine is produced, regulated and consumed here. He is currently continuing his fieldwork in Himachal Pradesh.

Nick writes:



From the room, they drift

like dandelion

seeds; unfamiliar destinations,

lost histories. Yet each has the weight

of an ocean in their eyes.

The pains of others are

distant galaxies

that I can’t begin to describe.


In the final two weeks of January, I spent a little time with Pallium as part of my PhD research. As this came to a close, it was mentioned that visitors usually contribute a blog post. To the promise of being taken out for chai as a reward, was added the note that this contribution could take any form. ‘Blog post, eight-line poem, even a song!’ I was told. Well, how could I refuse?

Before launching into an explanation of my potentially ill-advised attempt, I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the organisation. From the music on the morning bus (Udta Punjab and a song about cats were both highlights) to the warmth and generosity of the staff, it has been one of the most pleasurable periods of my research.

But one afternoon, a patient died.

I was working just outside their room with a couple of others. A woman whose shoulders were hunched in grief came out through the doors and sat beside us. A young child stroked her hair. Those with whom I have worked, despite their good humour, know the gravity of their roles. For me, it was a timely reminder.

As the essayist Elaine Scarry (on whom the poem draws) once noted, pain destroys language. In the face of this however, I took up the throw-away invitation to write a poem for Pallium. I have tried to capture something of that moment, and the idea that language is aligned rather haphazardly to the experience of physical and emotional suffering. It was only after a lot of wrangling that I reached the modest target of eight lines!

New legislation by Kerala Legislative Assembly regarding brain death

2020 January 30

India was living with a curious legal situation in which a brain-dead person could be declared dead if a candidate for organ transplantation, but not otherwise.

Kerala has brought in a law which clarifies the issue. It lays down scientific criteria for certifying brain death and for cessation of artificial life support in that event.

Please see: Guidelines for the Brain Death Certification – Govt of Kerala Dept of Health and Family Welfare