Lack of funds force cancer-stricken Pune doctor to seek euthanasia

Dr Bharat Maruti Lote, a 56-year-old state medical officer, is currently undergoing treatment at a city hospital. He released a video seeking permission for mercy killing last week.

pune Updated: Jun 15, 2017 16:13 IST
Prachi Bari 
Prachi Bari 
Hindustan Times, Pune
doctor,mercy killing,euthanasia
Dr Bharat Maruti Lote has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.(HT PHOTO)

A state medical officer undergoing treatment in Pune’s hospital has sought permission for mercy killing as he cannot afford the treatment for cancer.

56-year-old, Dr Bharat Maruti Lote, takes time to speak between sentences as he struggles with the bitterness of the medicine in his mouth.

For the past three months, ever since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he sees his life slowly ebbing away. Despite being in stage one of cancer and an assurance of healing from his doctor, Dr Lote is giving up hope to live because he is unable to bear the cost of the treatment anymore.

The medical officer in the state health department released a video last week, requesting euthanasia (the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease).

The family has approached a lawyer to finalise a petition on euthanasia to be submitted before the Bombay High Court.

Dr Lote worked for the last 26 years a medical officer at a primary health centre in Rampur village, Chiplun taluka, Ratnagiri, and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March.

The family immediately began treatment at the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune, but the prognosis was dire. “The doctor said the chances of recovery were slim, but I held onto hope," said Sangeeta, his wife. His sons Pratik (22)and Mritunjan (20) are still in college.

Dr Lote has undergone three surgeries since April, the first surgery failed and was followed by a second surgery which was successful. Then he underwent a third surgery for his damaged intestine, with his costs going up to around ₹30 lakh.

As a class one officer, Dr Lote was drawing a good salary and he has managed to withdraw ₹11 lakh from his provident fund, with his wife Sangeeta raising another ₹12 lakh from friends.

Every state employee gets a cashless scheme health benefit upon admission in a hospital. To get this scheme, as well as to get his salary in advance for his treatment, Sangeeta has been doing the rounds of the state official office to release his salary for his treatment.

“It is agonising to see him in pain and adding to the woe is the burden of collecting money for treatment. To help him, I have been meeting officials in the health department almost daily,” she says.

Unable to bear the pain as well as embarrassment of having to return money borrowed, Dr Lote released a video message on June 8 pleading for euthanasia. In this video, he highlighted his financial problem and the lack of concern from the health department about his situation.

"The government is not helping us out. He devoted his whole life to serving the poor in a small village. He was even awarded state honours - Na Dho Karve Award and Ahilya Joshi Award and this is how they treat one of their employees,” states Sangeeta in distress.

First Published: Jun 15, 2017 16:07 IST