New Delhi: Soldiers who spend the prime of their lives battling at the frontiers to secure the country, can now get specialised care in their twilight years as the Army has set up its first palliative care centre here for its terminally-ill members and their families.
    
65-year old Singh Ram who fought in the Indo-Pakistan Wars of 1971 and 1965 and went into coma last month is the first ex-serviceman who will undergo treatment at the centre.
    
Suffering from lung and kidney problems, Singh has little chances of recovering from his condition and doctors have decided to ensure that he gets best medical care.
   
He will be shifted to the palliative care centre – a centre that provides services and support for patients and families facing life-limiting illnesses - after conducting all the tests so that they do not miss out on any treatment.
   
"The Hospice is a high quality centre for care of terminally ill patients during their final days and hours of life. Before shifting him there we wish to see if there are any treatment modalities left," Commandant Base Hospital, Major General B K Chopra said.
   
"They lived with dignity while serving in the forces, they should die in a dignified way too. That is why we have come up with this centre," he said.
   
The 32-bed centre was established in August under the aegis of Adjutant General's branch for a large number of serving personnel, ex-servicemen and their dependents suffering from terminal stage of cancer and other such diseases.
   
"Facilities are like that of home away from home. It has air conditioned single suites with LCD TV, round the clock doctors, nurses and paramedical staff, intercom, attenders bed, bed side table and over bed table. All facilities are free of cost for the patient," Colonel D N Karan, Medical Officer health services said. After joining the 4 Jat Regiment of the Indian Army in 1965, Singh Ram served for 15 long years and earned the rank of lance Naik in the 1971 war.
   
"He was decorated with medals for commendable work done in 1971 war. He had captured two bunkers. I got injured in the war but he continued till the war came to an end," Sepoy Chanar Singh, a friend of Singh Ram said.
   
His son Sri Bhagwan said his father never liked being dependent when he was at home.
   
"We wish that he is there with us at home in his final days but we will not be able to give him the medical care that he now needs 24 hours till he is alive. We do not want to see him in pain and that is why we agreed to keep him in the hospice," he said.
   
Major Anurag Srivastava, the doctor treating Ram said he has several problems. Both his kidneys are not fully functional and he has lung problem, high blood pressure and sugar problem.
   
"This palliative care centre is no old age home. It is for those who are terminally ill and will not benefit from any other treatment. Where hospitals are for providing cure, this hospice is for care during the final days of life," Colonel D N Karan said.
   
"They will get round the clock treatment and care that their family members will not be able to deliver. Along with being terminally ill, the patient's family should give a consent for 'Do Not Resucictate' to be eligible to get a bed in the palliative care centre," he added.

(Agencies)