Ms. Dalima Bodnaik, 17 year old tribal girl came to our hospital with complaints of abdominal pain for several months. She was her parents only child, three older siblings having died previously of various causes and at various ages.
An ultrasound scan performed by the doctor revealed an ovarian mass. She was advised a CT scan in Visakapatnam (200 km away) which confirmed an ovarian malignancy. The lack of a cancer centre in the southern part of Odisha meant that this poor tribal family had to travel all the way to Cuttack (600 km) away to the regional cancer centre for treatment.
After enduring a few cycles of chemo and RT and not convinced of any change for the better, they came back, convinced she was the victim of a curse and witchcraft. At this point they were financially depleted, mentally exhausted and physically drained. Even though we had no trained palliative unit, we were at that point their only hope. Dalima was admitted into hospital for a while.
Staff from across the Society, whether hospital or otherwise visited her and spent time with her, sharing the hope of an after life with her. Even during her last days at home she was regularly visited by staff of AKH, who would feed, bathe and care for her.
Dalima passed away while under our care.