Medical reforms crusader Dr Govinda KC after being transferred to the Ilam District Hospital on Monday, the sixth day of his fast-unto-death, after his condition deteriorated. He has refused to take his medicines. “I will not take any medicine, orally or by injection, in the days ahead. I will not stop my protest and am ready to die if my demands are not addressed,” Dr KC told Republica on the phone on Monday. Photo: Bhim Chapagain/Republica
ILAM, Jan 15: Caretakers on Monday morning transferred Dr Govinda KC to Ilam Hospital from the site of his latest fast-unto-death at Phulgachhi.
The medical education reform crusader suffered severe irregularities in his heartbeat, which could be life-threatening. Dr KC was moved to hospital for advanced care after his condition deteriorated further on the sixth day of his ongoing hunger strike.
The hospital informed that Dr KC was brought there at around 9 am. He is receiving normal saline water and oxygen. His blood pressure and oxygen level are not at normal levels, informed Dr Bijendra Kumar Sah, who is involved in the treatment.
“Dr KC already has pneumonia and his water level is lower than normal. We also suggested antibiotics and medicines to normalize the heartbeat but he agreed only to taking saline water and oxygen,” Dr Sah added.
Doctors said Dr KC’s condition deteriorated drastically within a short period. In the last six days, they have examined his blood four times. The team expressed deep concern over his fast-deteriorating condition. They warned that he cannot be treated at Ilam Hospital if his condition deteriorates any further.
“He could need to be in an intensive care unit (ICU) within two days but this hospital does not have that facility. We also do not have anesthesia and critical care experts,” informed Dr Sah. He reckons that Dr KC has to be taken to hospital in Biratnagar or Dharan within a few days.
Before his current fast-unto-death, the senior orthopedic surgeon from Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) had staged his 15th hunger strike in Jumla for 27 days, after which he was taken to Kathmandu.
After that on July 26, a 22-point agreement was signed between him and the government to meet his demands through a National Medical Education Act. However, some of his demands went unfulfilled when the Education and Health Committee of parliament endorsed a new bill. Following this, Dr KC started his 16th hunger strike on January 9.
Dr KC may have sudden cardiac arrest: Doctors
KATHMANDU, Jan 15: Doctors who have treated Dr Govinda KC in the past warn that he might have a sudden cardiac arrest.
Dr KC, the senior orthopedic surgeon and professor at the Tribhuvan University, Institute of Medicine (IOM) who has been crusading for medical education reform, was taken to the CCU at Manmohan Cardiothoracic Vascular and Transplant Centre at IOM on November 19 after developing chest pain during an earlier fast-unto-death and discharged on November 21. He is now on his 16th fast-unto-death.
Dr KC suffers the problem of myocardial bridging in which the heart muscle presses the heart artery, doctors involved in his treatment said. This causes chest pain. Dr KC is facing the same problem again.
After Dr KC’s discharge at the time, cardiologist Dr Arun Sayami, one of the doctors who treated him, had said that it would be dangerous for him to go on long drawn-out hunger strikes in future. Dr KC was also prescribed a daily dose of medicine for taking after meals.
Dr KC is now suffering from the same problem on the sixth day of his 16th hunger strike, which he started in Ilam. And he has not taken any medicine although doctors recommended not to miss his daily dose.
“I have not taken any medicine since I began the fast-unto-death,” Dr KC told Republica over the phone. “And I will not take any medicine, orally or by injection, in the days ahead,” he said. “I will not stop my protest and am ready to die if my demands are not addressed,” he added.
Dr Sayami said it would aggravate his condition if Dr KC remained under stress or refused medication. “It is risky to stage a hunger strike in such circumstances. Ten percent of such cases can be critical,” said Dr Sayami. “If the stress escalates, chest pain will increase and sometimes this can lead to sudden death,” he warned.
Dr KC has been on hunger strike for a total of around 200 days during his 16 fasts-unto-death since 2012. The 15th and longest fast ended on the 27th day on July 26. All of his demands were addressed in the latest agreement reached with him at the time but the problem has been in implementation.
According to the nine-point agreement signed with Dr KC on July 26, implementation of the major demands was to start within 15 days to two months. However, the government has yet to honestly implement the agreement in full.