THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Regional Cancer Centre, one of the country’s pre-eminent centres for oncology treatment in the government sector, has lately had its image dented on account of the two back-to-back cases of alleged medical negligence.While one incident pertains to the incident in which a nine-year-old cancer patient from Alappuzha reportedly contracting HIV after undergoing blood transfusion at the RCC, the second one involves the death of a woman patient - herself a medical doctor - due to the purported ineptness on the part of the RCC doctors, according to the social media post made by her doctor husband.
The RCC authorities, for their part, say before pointing fingers those doing so ought to factor in the logistical issues encountered by the centre in providing cancer care to the innumerable patients seeking treatment there. According to them, the heavy inflow of patients coupled with space constraints and lack of manpower is taking a toll on them. Besides, they said it is high time the two other government-run cancer care centres in the state - the Malabar Cancer Centre (MCC) in Kannur and the Cochin Cancer Research Centre (CCRC) in Ernakulam - ought to be brought upto the RCC standards.
On this, RCC Director Paul Sebastian told Express considering the massive increase in the number of patients, the centre needs to have adequate infrastructure facilities and manpower to ensure quality treatment. “The patient footfall at RCC is growing every year. I had said many a time the workload of RCC should indeed be reduced. Other than this, the major issue confronting the RCC now is space constraint. We were operating on a six acre campus whereas the MCC is spread across a sprawling 24 acre campus,” said Paul.
He also said though the RCC receives adequate financial assistance from the state and the Centre what it lacks most is manpower. “I am of the opinion the recent incidents have not affected the RCC’s reputation. It still remains the much sought after centre for cancer treatment. At the same time we are also giving top priority to patient care as the centre will soon have the Nucleic Acid Test (NAT) facility which can detect HIV infection during the window period at blood banks,” says Paul.
Last month, Health Minister K K Shylaja citing a WHO study had stated in the Assembly as many as 50,000 new cancer cases are reported in the state every year. She had then said considering the spike in the cancer cases, the government is also weighing the possibility of establishing a Kerala Cancer Care Grid, a network of all cancer care facilities linking both the public and private sector hospitals.