Pain of poverty
Chief Minister’s Cancer Relief Fund Scheme had failed to improve the condition of 48-year-old patient Reeta. Her treatment for the cancer uterus was not started by a private hospital at Ludhiana even though the government had sanctioned Rs 91,000 for her treatment.
When she was diagnosed with cancer, some residents collected money for her treatment in August 2012. Her treatment was stopped mid-way in October 2012 due to a lack of more funds. Her family then learned about the Cancer Relief Fund Scheme in 2013. They had then applied for aid from the state government.
Under the scheme, the government had sanctioned the money as per the government hospital rates. But, the patient had to pay the differences in rates since tests and other facilities at the private hospital cost more.
The private hospital staff had refused to start the patient’s treatment and demanded a deposit of Rs 10,000 from them before treating her. But, the family could not arrange Rs 10,000.
As no treatment was available for cancer patients at Government Hospital Ludhiana, the family was advised to take the patient to PGIMER Chandigarh. Her son told me that they are not even in a condition of visiting Chandigarh.
When I had visited her home, the woman was screaming in pain. I had written her pain, but the government failed to wake up. Unfortunately, she passed away after some days. Like her, many patients die without getting treatment because of poverty.