Posted by: Satheesh Kumar Muthu | June 19, 2009

A Heart-throbbing situation

Yesterday, in my ward (Medicine department),I’ve come across a patient who was diagnosed as having COL (Cirrhosis of Liver).For non-medicoes,I can say its an invariably fatal disease of the Liver.He was already in the advanced stage of the disease.He was extremely distressed,and was worrying abt the future of his only daughter. He has a very significant history of Alcohol consumption(for nearly 10 yrs) and that too he regularly consumed toddy. While my professor Dr Bhavani Prasad (who is one of the dedicating professors in our hospital and is an inspiration to us)was examining this patient,he was crying and crying and it moved my Professor. He said “See old man,everyone on this earth has to die one day….we have neither brought anything nor going to take anything from here.Its Great that u r not dying a horrible death.”

COL is an invariably fatal disease for which Alcohol consumption is an important cause(although there are many other causes). It has a down-hill course and one day he eventually has to die. Even Cancers(like Leukemia) and TBs have treatment but not for COL.Although stabilizing the patient immediately after developing complications like Bleeding(usually from Oesophageal varices) and routine Octreotide  treatment do exist,they are only for transient relief and one day he has to die for sure.Once a patient is diagnosed as having COL,his average survival period would not be more than 2 or 3 yrs. And Liver transplantation is almost impossible in a country like India where patients cannot afford for such an expensive therapy. Even if they could afford for Liver transplantation surgery(I guess its around Rs 5,00,000),the monthly expenditure of Rs 10,000 thereafter(immunosuppressive therapy to prevent Graft rejection) makes them a Living-corpse.

In Andhra Pradesh, the State Government doesn’t levy any tax(if perhaps levies,its very low) for the Hot Beverages. Indirectly,it is contributing for the deaths of many Pullanas or Nallannas….as the patients’ names go. There are some countries which levy huge taxes on Cigarettes and Hot Beverages. And in such countries lot of improvement has been seen in the mortality rates from Lung cancers and Alcohol-related diseases.Why couldn’t we have such a Government in our country?And for every government,taxes levied on Liquor and Cigarettes are the major source of income. Why don’t our people do this? Hi Friends,pls post ur views and comments abt this………

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Responses

  1. hmm….true!!…it virtually eats the patient!!…

  2. I also second ur opinion abt govt increasin the taxes n thereby decreasin the alcohol consumption..

    But to weed out the root cause… i think people need to get literate… i dont mean ‘studying’ literate… just literate about the ill effects of alcohol n smoking n etc… our govt has projects for these kinda educations… they r just not that active…

  3. Hi Satheesh:)

    Very heart breaking post!

    I at least know of two cases of COL. One I read in the news paper and the other happened to one of my close relatives.

    The first case relaes to Rajan Pillai, the Chairman of Britannia Buscuit co who was killed by the guards of the Tihar Jail because he refused to brible them. Rajan Pillai was arrested in India for a crime which he was supposed to have been committed in Singapore. Although Rajan produced medical documents to the judge showing that he was suffering from COL and requested the judge to send him to a hospital for treatment, the learned judge sent him to jail. In the jail his COL became severe and when he requested the jail superintendent to send him to a hospital, the superintendednt demanded bribe running into lakhs of rupees. Rajan refused. He was beaten up by the guards for not paying the money and the poor man died in the jail.

    The second case relates to one of my relatives who was a drunkard of the first order. He contracte COL and the doctor warned him to stop drinking so that he can live. For a few days he didn’t drink. But after some weeks he started going to the bar and started drinking heavily. His COL became very bad and he died a miserable death. I cannot explain this in medical terminology. I understand his veins burst and blood was coming out of all the openings in the body such as nose, ears, mouth etc. This man deliberately brought death upon himself.

    Kerala, a pigmy state, which has the higest literacy rate in the whole of the country, is the highest liquor consuming state in India. In the evening if you visit the Beverages corporation outlets owned and operated by the govt. you will be shocked to see the crowd waiting to buy liquor. The line will be longer than the line you will find in the cinema theatre for a first day, first show block buster movie. The govt. earns a huge revenue. It is surprising to note that the govt. which is supposed to take care of the welfare of the people, is encouraging liquor consumption and especially among the poorer section of the society. If the govt. is irresponsible what can be done?

    It is for the people to understand the seriousness of liquour consumption and give it up completely. But if you see the history of human race, they have been drinking alchohol from time immemorial.

    I can’t see an answer.

    However, educative and instructive posts like yours will go long way in curbing this evil if not completely eradicating it.

    Have a lovely day Satheesh:)
    Joseph

  4. @ Broca
    Hey dude,thanks a lot for stopping by my blog. So how r u? btw did u start ur PG preparation or u have any other options like jobs or Practice? What r ur plans?

    @ Arun Kumar
    Hey Arun, what r ur future plans-USMLE or AMC or Centrals or TNPG or any other?

  5. @ Joseph Pulikotil
    I’ve been learning day-by-day that my posts are incomplete without ur comments,sir.Indeed,the comments u make,render them lively and highly informative. I’m extremely happy that u gave beautiful illustrations about the case of COL. Medicine becomes more interesting when the cases become more familiar by way of stories related to them. I’m extremely thankful to you.
    Have a Great weekend………
    Regards.

  6. Really moved by the patient that you are talking about..!

    Many people start regretting for their bad habits, only after getting succumbed to it… Even if they are warned about the consequences earlier, they are not caring to take those to mind..

    From the Govt. part, they can increase the tax levied to these products.. but it can be to some limits only… I still see people who just borrow money to have drinks… but the tax hike is surely going to have an effect….

    but the more significant change have to come in the side of the people who go to these drinks… Many awareness camps are being held to educta ethese ppl… but a strong will from thse is expected…

    Let us hope the change would come soon… anyway, ur post would sure serve as an awareness, but also news that would tickle out a feeling of fear in the minds of drunkards…!

  7. @ Bala
    Many thanks for ur comment Bala……Have a Great Day…….

  8. @satheesh
    I think i will go with tamilnad n all india entrance…
    also lookin out for DNB courses…

  9. @ Arun
    Oh thats a nice decision………

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  11. Biliary Atresia is probably the main cause of liver disease for kids, but is still considered a rare condition is life threatening. My son, Harvey had been diagnosed with this. You can read his story on his website.


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