Vinod Anand | 10 Aug 2013

RAHUL’S VISIT TO KNMH AT ALLAHABAD BRINGS CHEERS TO TINY CANCER PATIENTS (Vinod Anand) Rahul Gandhi was there only for a few hours. But the electrifying impact of his visit top the Kamala Nehru Memorial Hospital brought cheers to the tiny cancer patients, with whom he spent plenty of time, and also boosted the morale of members of staff who were anxiously and eagerly waiting for this visit. They were amply rewarded by the various announcements made by him as also the satisfaction he expressed over the working of the healing centre which he wants to emerge as one of the finest and the best in Asia. It must have gladdened the hearts of the gathering, particular the staff of the Hospital when Rahul, great- grand-son of Kamala Nehru after whom the institution has been named, remarked that it was ‘a matter of pride to see such a hospital functioning in the city’ and reiterated his commitment to help-in its fast development so as to ensure that the hospital is at par with global standards. Padmashree Dr B.Paul, who must have by now cured thousands of cancer patients, was among those accompanying Rahul when he went round the place. Dr Paul said that Rahul was very loving and cordial towards the children, reminding one of his great-grand father Jawaharlal Nehru who loved to b amidst children, so much so that his birthday, 14th November, celebrated as the Children’s Day. It was the Children’s Day again when Rahul was in their midst. He went round the Children’s Ward, took keen interest in the progress they were making, stood by the bed of the tiny tots, giving each one of them the impression that he was their own, their well-wisher, their benefactor; and the children felt that an angel had come from the heavens above to bless them, caress them. Dr Paul, accompanying Rahul, told that he keenly made inquiries about each child in the ward, cheered them by stopping at their bedside, holding a kid in his arms too as he proceeded from one bed to another, smiling at one place at a clean-shaven lad as he acknowledged a gift from him with folded hands and thereafter also pausing for quite some time at the bedside of a baby in the lap of its mother. This child also received a gift from the visiting dignitary. While like a dutiful great-grand child Rahul paid homage to Kamala Nehru before her garlanded portrait by lighting the ceremonial lamp, he showed his large-heartedness by asking a tiny tot to cut the birthday cake after lighting all candles amidst loud cheers from all onlookers. It may be mentioned that August 1, happened to be the birthday of Kamala Nehru and, to mark this rare and auspicious occasion, Rahul also planted a sapling on the campus Details about the highly sophisticated and costly machines for cancer treatment, unique in the country, which he inaugurated, are well known. But what should be remembered is that this was not a mere formality that Rahul was performing, as any minister would do anywhere. He came here especially for the function because he wants, from the core of his heart, that this hospital indeed rises to its highest glory. That is why he is maintaining regular contacts with the hospital, inquiring about the progress made, seeking details about the problems faced and following it up by doing the best he can. Rahul particularly went round the cancer wing of the children. He said, Cancer is a very difficult disease td deal with but for the poor it is a death sentence. That is why it was all the more a matter of pride and satisfaction that this charitable hospital was dedicated to fighting dreaded diseases like cancer free of cost. Dr B.Paul, the moving spirit behind the working of the cancer wing of the hospital, told in an informal chat that their efforts at treating children suffering from blood caner at this hospital have been crowned with spectacular success. He specially referred to the case which they treated when the child was just six years old. That child was fully cured. He got married subsequently and was in hospital with his wife and son to boost the morale of the ailing tiny tots and to assure them that if they continue to take treatment regularly, to the satisfaction of the doctors, success would not elude them in 80 to 80 per cent of cases. But, Dr Paul stressed, Patients should be brought immediately when the disease was suspected. Early detection and timely treatment would be an ideal situation in which to expect success. This is not all. Guardians must ensure that the patients do not leave the treatment midway as many from the villages do once they get some relief and then get the impression that all is well. That he said is not so. If treatment is left half way, the disease reemerges with greater fury and then it becomes very difficult if not impossible to control it, cure it. Dr Paul reiterated that blood cancer among patients was curable. Though an aggressive disease, it is highly curable. Dr Paul revealed that for three-four weeks the child has to remain in the hospital under special care. The new ward for children has been set up so that their parents or guardians may also be with them and thus 3t would be possible to keep a vigil on them round the clock. That would be a big benefit accruing from this new ward. After the hospitalization period is over, the children go home and treatment is done from there. It may take a year and a half or so for the child to be fully cured. Dr Paul conceded that there were problems at times, especially when terminal; cases were brought to hospital with the disease having reached its last stage. We know that such cases are hopeless. ‘But we are helpless’, he said, adding ‘That is why I wish to make an appeal, and ask all readers to carry forward the message, that cancer is curable if treated at initial stages and if the entire course is gone through without a break.’ Well, we wish all the best to the patients and also hope that this hospital will rise to glorious heights to the expectations of Rahul Gandhi and will add greater luster to the memory of Kamala Nehru who wanted a free healing centre for the helpless and the destitute suffering from serious ailments. Rahul Gandhi also told doctors at Kamla Nehru Memorial Hospital that it should not be forgotten that this was a charitable hospital and that the poor patients were to be treated kindly, sympathetically and free. Dr Paul revealed this in an informal chat and said that they nave reserve fund of Rs10 lakhs from the Centre to treat free the BPL (Below Poverty Line) cancer patients. When exhausted the funds are replenished. He said that they could spend one lakh rupees on a cancer patient belonging to the BPL category. Dr Paul says, ‘We ensure that no one goes back.” At the same time he gratefully acknowledged the monetary help that was being extended to them by social service organizations from their funds meant for charity. In this connection he thanked clubs like the Rotary and the Lions which have rendered invaluable help to the poor patients in desperate need of treatment. This is true that there were very few instances when we come across reports that doctors in Kamala Nehru Hospital were rude to their patients or had thrown them Out of their wards, on the streets. Dr Paul said that they were on a mission. He did say that sometimes doctors have to be harsh, especially when patients do not abide by their instructions. ‘But we don’t throw them out’, said the cancer expert. He said, ‘Do you know, a number of them die because they give up treatment midway after getting some relief and then don’t come back till the disease recurs. Most of the patients who do so come from the villages. One cannot keep a track of them because some of them hide their true address because they do not want the villagers to know that one of them is suffering from a dreaded, incurable disease. Dr Paul reiterated, ‘It is not a dreaded disease any more. It is not an incurable disease any more. But if it is neglected, the consequences are bound to be bitter.’ He said, ‘What happens if you neglect malaria or typhoid o encephalitis? Don’t such cases become fatal too?’ But, he said reassuringly, ‘If patients take regular precautions, all will be well. Don’t diabetes patients take life-long precautions? Then can’t cancer patients do this?’ Dr Paul said, ‘A stitch in time saves nine, remember this’.     PAGE  PAGE 2