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“Dr. T.S. Bhaskaran had stood tall all his life – independent and dignified. It was heart rending to see him in his eightieth year bent over himself in severe back pain and sobbing, much to the distress of his family.

Even though it was not due to cancer, his agony went beyond physical limits-the fact that he had to be in bed and unable to accomplish his daily routine work killed his spirit. In other words he not only suffered physically but also emotionally and spiritually.

Not knowing how to help him, I took my father to Calicut Medical College to Dr. M.R. Rajagopal, Professor in Anaesthesiology and specialist in Palliative Medicine and Pain Management. After a process of stepwise treatment, he finally got relief from pain and felt as if he was reborn!

While my father was undergoing treatment I witnessed large number of patients who came to the clinic for relief of pain, breathlessness and other distressing symptoms due to cancer and other diseases. Looking at their anxious faces conveying the message ‘if only I could get relief from suffering’ transformed my very thinking. I realised how ‘medical’ we have been all these years, aiming always to ‘cure’ disease – never looking at how to ‘care’ for the patient by relieving pain and needless suffering caused by the disease.

I could not wait to go back for the ten-day Course in Palliative Medicine that November of 1999. I told myself ‘for all those suffering from chronic diseases, we should not be sending them away not knowing what to do; we need to do something to improve their quality of life’.

This personal experience was what caused a huge tidal wave-like transformation that motivated me to specialise in the field of Palliative Medicine and start a Trust with a group of like-minded doctors as we felt that every human being should be given relief from suffering due to any disease, curable or not.”.

Dr. Mallika Tiruvadanan.

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