TV mumbo jumbo costing lives

Frustrated with dialysis patients risk their lives for healer-dealers

TV mumbo jumbo costing lives

A local Kannada channel’s reports about the “miracle cures” that a faith healer offered, have driven patients from the lower economic background to look for alternate medicines including ‘miracles and faith healing’. 

Bangalore Kidney Foundation's Dialysis Centre at the Rangadore Memorial Hospital has many patients who have skipped their dialysis sessions and have instead gone in search of swamis and babas, who can heal them of kidney ailments. The centre caters to patients who are rag pickers, vegetable vendors, tender coconut sellers, petrol bunk attendants, auto drivers etc.

Forty-seven-year old Chandrashekhar, a provision shop keeper, too believed such miracles aired on television channels. Though he was on dialysis for eight years and never missed any session, he always looked for alternate option for his treatment.

“Though my family never believed in such magic healing, my husband wanted to find another option.

“He once drank too much water as told by some swami, which had an adverse effect on his body and the water had to be removed. He died due to liver failure three months ago,” said Shantha, Chandrashekhar's wife. 

The weaker sections’ innocence is being exploited in the name of religion and blind beliefs, said M V N Raj, Director, BKF.

“There are many patients who leave their houses in search of some baba or a swami who can cure them. After disappearing for more than a week, they finally return to BKF swollen in the face and body to undergo dialysis,” he said.

“There are many patients who have undergone alternate medicine like ayurveda and unani and have damaged their health in the process. They finally end up at the hospital to continue their dialysis,”  said Dr Balakrishna, head of Dialysis at BKF.

Lack of awareness

Since the awareness about cadaver transplant and organ donation is low, patients waiting for a kidney donation suffer psychologically. 

“Unfortunately, although there are enough braindead cases being reported everyday due to accidents, not many many hospitals are taking the initiative to counsel the victims’ families for organ donation,” Dr D Ramesh, Secretary, Zonal Co-ordination Committee of Karnataka for Transplantation (ZCCK), said.

ZCCK had 561 patients registered for kidney transplant, of whom 49  died in the process of waiting for a kidney donation. At BKF, 30 patients undergoing dialysis since 2007, not due to renal failure, but because of poor living conditions and blind beliefs.

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