India’s “father of palliative care” Dr. M.R. Rajagopal is nominated for the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize. Currently, he is touring North America, spreading a message of compassion and how to involve the whole community in medical care. There is a documentary on his work which is also been shown along with his travel across the globe named as – Hippocratic: 18 Experiments in Gently Shaking the World.
Dr. Rajagopal is renowned for advocating for comfort and compassion above all. “That’s something the global medical system seems to have forgotten completely,” he said in an interview given to CBC.
Dr. Rajagopal, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, said the technological advances that have made diagnosis and treatment of so many diseases possible are great but “aggressive disease-focused care” often doesn’t treat the pain of suffering.
The documentary looks at the ethical use of modern medicine and attempts to break down some of the stigma surrounding opioids.
It comes at a time when attitudes toward pain relief have started to shift in North America in light of the overdose epidemic and over-prescription of opioid-based treatments.
Dr. Rajagopal is adamant that the medical care needs to be a partnership between doctors and the community at large.
“Our work is community oriented and with community participation,” Dr. Rajagopal said.
Rajagopal, is a recipient of the Human Rights Watch Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, a 2018 recipient of the Government of India’s Padma Shri Award (one of the highest civilian honours), and a 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
Hippocratic: 18 Experiments in Gently Shaking the World draws on the timeless wisdom of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Rajagopal’s own profound insights, the film addresses key global challenges such as access to palliative care services; delivering health care in low‐resource settings; the tragedy of unnecessary suffering; and the opportunity to deliver ethical, whole‐person care through a grassroots movement.
Hailing from Kerala, India, where he has devoted himself and his life’s work to palliative care and pain relief among some of the world’s poorest sufferers, Dr MR Rajagopal, or “Dr Raj” as he is known to patients and colleagues alike, will embark on a five-week, multi-city North American tour to share his philosophy of compassionate caring and the need for greater access to relatively inexpensive pain medications throughout the world.
A nominee for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Raj discovered his passion for easing the pain while traveling all over Kerala (population 37 million) treating patients too sick to come to clinic. Realizing the need for more clinicians in the area of palliative care and pain management, he set up a network of providers throughout northern Kerala, now recognized as one of the world’s most effective community-based care programs in the world.
“If they find you to be a human being, and not just a white-coated machine, then they react to us with smiles, maybe with jokes,” says Dr. Rajagopal. “That’s happiness, that transformation of people. Then you see such amazing strength in people, patients and family members.”
In 1993, he founded, with others, India’s Pain and Palliative Care Society (PPCS) in the Medical College, Calicut, and two years later the World Health Organization recognized it as a model demonstration project. In 2003, Dr. Raj founded Pallium India, a charitable trust which aims to improve the coverage and accessibility of quality palliative care in India. Now, Dr. MR Rajagopal is one of the nominees for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, to be awarded in Oslo later this year.
Beginning March 9, Dr. Raj will embark on a five-week North American speaking tour that will include stops in Toronto, Kingston, ON, Ottawa, New York, Columbus, OH, Madison, WI, San Diego, San Francisco, Stanford, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Washington DC, Seattle, Victoria, BC, Vancouver, Houston and Atlanta. In both public and clinical forums at some of the continent’s most prestigious universities and medical centers, Dr. Raj will speak to the charge that modern medicine – driven by corporate profits and skyrocketing costs – has lost its way; how medical systems throughout the world are fueling increasing poverty; his unique view of euthanasia from a global health perspective, and the global crisis in untreated pain due to mounting regulations surrounding the use of illicit medications.