Cancer patients can only pray at KR Hospital

The Outpatient Department of Cancer Treatment Unit at K R Hospital in Mysore. dh photo

Less than eight months old, the CTU was opened with technical assistance of Kidwai Institute of Oncology and Cancer Hospital (KIOCH), Bangalore, to help poor people of old Mysore region such as Mandya, Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Hassan, Kodagu and other adjoining places to access cancer treatment.

The KIOCH had provided furniture, equipment needed for basic cancer treatment such as chemotherapy and radiation. At present, two doctors trained at KIOCH and a staff nurse is appointed to monitor the unit.

Even though the number of patients are increasing, the doctors are able to counsel only 30 patients a day on every Monday, Tuesday and Saturday. The remaining days of the week are designated to provide chemotherapy and other treatment. More than 55 patients have availed chemotherapy treatment at CTU until now.

Private hospitals

Private hospitals charge between ` 20,000 and ` 30,000 for chemotherapy treatment for cancer patients that takes anywhere between one-and-half month to six months. The CTU at KRH provides this treatment between ` 1,000 and ` 5,000. Even counselling sessions and ward charges are provided free of cost. Only those who need surgery are referred to KIOCH.

No radiotherapist

Adding to the woes is the lack of radio therapist to provide radiation therapy. KRH is yet to appoint a radiotherapist, putting hundreds of cancer patients at risk. Patients are forced to go to KIOCH or Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences (MIMS) for radiation treatment. According to sources, many patients have skipped treatment unable to bear the cost of going to Bangalore.

Sources mentioned that nobody has come forward to apply for the post of radiotherapist as the Cobalt machine installed at the hospital is out-of-date. At the same time, modern multi-specialty hospitals have sophisticated machines such as ‘linear accelerator’, IMRT and MGRI. This has led to the Cobalt machine has been gathering dust.

Recently, KRH advertised for the post offering ` 23,000 salary for those who were M Sc in Medical Physics, which ultimately had no takers. The reason being that private hospitals offer salaries ranging between ` 40,000 and ` 50,000.

When Deccan Herald spoke to patients at KRH, Mahadevaiah, a resident of Chamarajanagar diagnosed with cancer demanded the authorities concerned to arrange radiation therapy treatment at KRH. This could help thousands of poor patients like him who are admitted KRH.

However, it is to be seen if the District In-Charge Minister S A Ramdas, who is also the Medical Education Minister will take any measures to provide succour to the patients.

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