Sunday, July 31, 2011

What is it all about?

Yesterday 30th July, it was really a sultry Saturday, and I received a telephone call from Mrs. Varghese when I was driving back after visiting two ailing patients in Tilak Nagar and Mohan Garden with Mr. Sunil Gupta. It was totally a desperate cry for help from Mrs. Varghese as nobody was available with her for taking her to hospital to relieve her from the excruciating pain she was undergoing due to the portal vein hypertension and liver cirrhosis she is suffering from. My immediate instinct was to call up three of our stalwart volunteers of Palliative care teams as I was sure of not able to reach her from the far away Dwarka where I was then.

Last time when the same kind of pain started it was the broad day time and we all were in our offices and she had to resort to calling on 100, the ever busy Delhi Police, who courteously took her in their ambulance to the hospital and admitted her in emergency. We then felt the limitations of our palliative care movement that if the pain occurs to the patients on a week day, that too during office hours, we are helpless as our volunteership is confined to weekends and evenings of week days only.

Few to and fro call to them and Mr. Kumar was already out on road in Andrews Ganj looking for a taxi or auto to take Mrs. Varghese from Sunlight Colony to the Emergency ward of Safdarjung Hospital. It was understood that Mr. Abdul from Lodhi Colony had also started to the hospital by then after coordinating with Mr. Kumar. The bemoaning Mrs. Varghese was finally in the hospital, doctors promptly attended to her and administered pain killer injections calming her down in the emergency ward. Kumar and Abdul were still there in the hospital and by the time they finally left for their houses with a quite hope that Mrs. Varghese has been provided with a quick relief for the time being leaving her to the treatment and care of the good and always overworked doctors of Safdarjung hospital, one more hour had already passed after the calendar date of the day silently slipped into 31st July.

What is it all about? Are we doing social human care or Palliative Care? Abdul and Kumar are not medical professionals, but pen pushing Government officers who could have sat in the air conditioned comforts of their homes in this sultry day, but had already visited patients, provided monthly food rations, emotional support etc., wherever required during the day time on Saturday with other dedicated team members and took up further ordeal at 10 PM in the evening again.

So far we do not have the teams led by our own medical doctor and nurse, but definitely has the advantage of having few good hearted doctors and nurses coming with us voluntarily whenever they are free from their own working fields. We also do not have any vehicle of our own to take these doctor, nurse and volunteers to our patients spread all over Delhi or for patient transport. Be we gratefully thank Mr. E. Sreedharan for starting Metro rail as we resort to it for most of the travelling though we have to catch buses or cycle rikshas for destinations beyond Metro stations. None of our volunteers ever seen cribbing on these meager methods of transport we resort to even when the travelling charges are paid by themselves as the donations we receive are used solely on the patient care and not on overheads.

It is for the common public to scrutinize our mission in whichever form we may put it and also to see whether the patient has been benefited in any manner or not. Hope our patients and their families, for whom it may matter, may also decide what it is all about, a Social or Palliative Care.

kv hamza,
General Secretary, DNipCare

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