Suspension of services at tertiary cancer centre hits poor patients in Malabar

Cancer patients from across Malabar are hit by the suspension of services at the tertiary cancer centre (TCC) attached to the Government Medical College Hospital, Kozhikode, in the wake of the staff there testing positive for SARS-CoV-2.

According to sources at the hospital, the services are unlikely to fully resume soon. A senior doctor, who wished not to be quoted, said that the reopening would be possible only after the infected health workers are moved into the low-risk category, when there is less chance of infection from them. Their lab results are expected in the coming days, he added. It is learnt that surgical oncology section has resumed functioning.

The TCC is a major centre for cancer treatment in Malabar as people from Kannur, Malappuram, Wayanad, and Kasaragod, and Palakkad too are dependent on the facilities here. According to the website of the medical college, around 5,000 cancer patients register at the centre every year, a majority of them have solid tumours.

A healthcare volunteer at the MCH said many from far-away places were still coming there not knowing that the centre has been closed. Some patients who are under chemotherapy and are yet to complete a course there were asked to approach private hospitals for the rest of the treatment. A majority of these people are from poor families who cannot afford to pay the charges being levied by private hospitals, the volunteer added.

It was on July 27 that two healthcare workers at the TCC were tested positive for the virus after they exhibited COVID-19 symptoms. Antigen tests were performed on all others next day and many were found to be infected. However, it has been alleged that some of them were allowed to go home and interact with others until reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests confirmed the presence of the virus. According to reliable sources, at least a dozen or more healthcare workers, including two doctors, have been found to be infected so far and all those who were in contact with them had to go in quarantine.

Earlier, some patients from the cancer ward of the MCH had to be shifted to the TCC after the ward was designated for COVID treatment. All these people as well as their bystanders have been shifted back to the MCH and those tested positive among them are being given treatment. The services were suspended too last week, including the outpatient department.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Sep 20, 2020 1:19:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/suspension-of-services-at-tertiary-cancer-centre-hits-poor-patients/article32287230.ece

Next Story