Over the last two years the whole world has turned on its head and the dynamics of health care have changed drastically due to the COVID 19 pandemic. With the entire focus shifted towards the diagnosis and treatment of COVID 19, all other chronic and fatal diseases have been left forgotten. Dr. TG Govindarajan, Founder & Chairman of Dr. Kamakshi Memorial Group of Hospitals, set-up his hospital with the vision to make quality health care accessible to everyone. He is driven, now more than ever, to provide complete care for cancer patients irrespective of their financial background.
Q:With the world’s attention fixed on COVID 19, what happened with the treatment of other diseases?
Dr:The pandemic does not stop people from having cancer or fall sick with other conditions. However, given the uncertainties around COVID 19 and the widespread fear that going to the hospital might exposed one to the virus, people just stopped coming to the hospital for other consultations. Even individuals with fatal diseases such as cancer, chose to stay home discontinuing treatment. And the lock downs did not make it easy for people to find transportation to the hospital, either.
Q:Are those with Cancer more susceptible to COVID 19?
Dr:Not exactly. Anyone who is sick, could be immuno-compromised. This means their immunity could be down because of whatever is infecting them which makes them more vulnerable to further infections. Some Cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, might be immuno-compromised. Irrespective of a pandemic, they must be careful.
Q:As you mentioned earlier, people are afraid to come to the hospital because they do not want to be around COVID-infected individuals. What steps has Dr. KMH taken to prevent this?
Dr:At the peak of the first wave itself, we understood the fear in people. This is why the section of the hospital treating COVID 19 patients was completely isolated from the rest of the hospital. And every nook and cranny of the premises is cleaned and sanitized. There is no way, a healthy individual can get infected with corona virus by coming to the hospital. Yet, people had their mind set and treatment for other diseases to a beating.
Q:Cancer Treatment does cost a lot and given the loss of livelihood for many, that could have also reduced the number of patients coming in for treatment…
Dr:Yes, that is true. We have been treating cancer for more than fifteen years. We understand the complications of the disease and the financial implications. We have invested crore of rupees in superior quality equipment to treat patients efficiently, but that has not led us to pick and choose who we treat.Our vision has always been to provide quality cancer care to every single patient who comes to us. Not just during the pandemic, but even before that we have treated patients who come under the government medical scheme as well. We have never denied anyone treatment based on financial issues. In fact, when patients with insufficient funds come to us, we have assisted them and helped them avail the concession of the government medical scheme. At least five other leading hospitals in the city are equipped with similar Radiotherapy equipment as us. But I can vouch that we provide treatment on par with any of those hospitals and that too at at least 10% less of the charges.
Q:What can you tell us about the Radiotherapy facility at Dr. KMH?
Dr:As mentioned by Dr. Surendran J – Senior Consultant Radiation Oncology (at Dr. Kamakshi Memorial Hospital) in the previous features, the soon-to-be commissioned linear accelerator at our hospital has advanced technology to ensure efficient delivery of high dose radiotherapy with such precision that next to no healthy cells are damaged. From ensuring that the patient is comfortably placed in the machine to checking if the planned course of treatment is still on target even just before commencing radiation, the machine is smart and adaptive. This is the finest quality Radiotherapy equipment in the market today and we are happy to serve cancer patients through it.
Q:What is your approach to cancer care now with the pandemic-influenced changes?
Dr:Over the last few months the numbers have increased. Of course, the COVID fear continues to have its sway, which is why we encourage our patients to get vaccinated. Our primary focus is on instilling confidence in our cancer patience through a dynamic delay-less diagnostic and treatment strategy. Through our compassionate approach we hope to alleviate the fear among the relatives of the cancer patients during and after the course of treatment by continuous monitoring an regular followups. We are charting out affordable treatment packages for cancer patients. We hope to be able to set-up accommodation and travel facilities for patients who need to come from distant localities and we are in the process of setting-up authentic telemedicine facility as well. We are also looking to establish doorstep services for terminally ill cancer patients, especially the elderly and women.
SENIOR CONSULTANT – RADIATION ONCOLOGY
MBBS, MD R.T,