Noted author and Parliamentarian Dr. Shashi Tharoor recently released the memoir of veteran palliative care physician and Pallium India Chairman, Dr. M. R. Rajagopal.
“This an exceptionally readable book, written in a very lucid and free-flowing style,” said Dr. Tharoor, releasing the memoir. “It’s sad when we see the pain and suffering people go through, something that is completely unnecessary,” he said. “The dying must be allowed to leave this world with dignity, grace and peace.”
Dr, Rajagopal read out a passage from the book, which gave a glimpse of what to expect in the memoir.
“Ninety-six per cent of the 10 million Indians who suffer from serious illnesses have no access to pain relief. On the other hand, 55 million Indians needing hospital admissions suffer catastrophic healthcare expenses in the process of their treatment.”
‘Walk with the Weary’ chronicles the journey of a doctor, who became obsessed with relieving patient suffering even before pain management became a speciality (popularly known today as palliative care), and showcases his unwavering dedication to the cause.
“Doctors should be more than body mechanics – they also have the tremendous and awesome responsibility of recognising, acknowledging and honouring the human beings that entrust their lives to them,” he writes in the memoir.
“We, who are part of the healthcare system, have a choice. We can continue to be insensitive to human suffering and keep turning it all into profit for ourselves. We have the alternative of turning the system around and infusing compassion into it – from a heartless industry to a vibrant combination of brain, heart and hands.”
A compilation of shared experiences from his years of walking along the road with people suffering from life-limiting illnesses, the book holds many lessons on living and dying well.
The author names his fellow travellers, from mentors to colleagues as well as magnanimous donors to supportive family caregivers. He acknowledges every doctor, nurse, philanthropist, mentor and patient he met and walked along during his formative years as a palliative care enthusiast and later crusader.
He says it is a paradox that people have to protect themselves against the medical system by signing ‘advance medical directives’. “Can we not integrate palliative care into all health-care as recommended by the World Health Assembly in 2014 so as to relieve suffering along with treatment of diseases?”
An anaesthesiologist-turned-palliative care doctor, Dr Rajagopal studied medicine at the Government Medical College in Thiruvananthapuram and received his MD from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. Taking into account his decades of service in providing palliative care to people with health-related suffering, he was honoured with the Padma Shri in 2018.
All proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards Pallium India’s patient care activities.
‘Walk with the Weary’ is available on Amazon.in, Flipkart and Notion Press store (https://notionpress.com/read/walk-with-the-weary). It is also available on Amazon.com (USA and UK) and as an eBook at the Kindle store.
Publisher: Notion Press (February2, 2022)
Paperback: 242 pages/Kindle