Idukki govt official suspended for insensitive attitude towards cancer patient before death

Idukki govt official suspended for insensitive attitude towards cancer patient before death
Suneesh Joseph

Kattappana: Suneesh Joseph knew that he did not have much time left. But he was ready to do everything he could for the welfare of his family before cancer caught up with him.

But the 41-year-old from Kattappana in Kerala's Idukki district had to suffer a lot due to the insensitive attitude of certain government officials.

Suneesh went to the Kattappana sub-registrar's office for land registration process on August 6. But the sub-registrar insisted that Suneesh had to appear in person at the office, which is at the third floor of the building, for the registration. Seated on a chair, Suneesh had to be carried up the stairs by his friends. With each step, Suneesh screamed in agony, recollected those who helped him that day. Three days later he died.

After coming to know of Suneesh’s ordeal, PWD Minister G Sudhakaran suspended Kattappana sub-registrar for the inhuman treatment of a cancer patient.

No humane consideration?

Suneesh, who worked as a chef in the Gulf, joined government service on September 27, 2019. He was a driver at the Karunapuram panchayat and worked till November 8. He was diagnosed with cancer and went on medical leave for treatment at reputed hospitals.

However, the disease aggravated and he was brought back to his house at Murickassery.

Once he realised that he would not survive the fatal illness, Suneesh began to make plans for his family. He hoped that his wife would get his government job and also wished to transfer the ownership of his property.

For this, he went to various offices. His health had further deteriorated and even the slightest movements would put him through excruciating pain. He had to be taken to the PSC office in an ambulance.

But the officials turned up at the ambulance and completed the verification procedures quickly. When they went to the sub-registrar's office on August 6, the family had hoped for a similar treatment.

By then, Suneesh was fitted with a tube for consuming food. His legs were swollen. Suneesh's wife Bincy said that the sub-registrar was adamant that Suneesh had to come to the office for the registration. Suneesh, who was in an extremely weakened state by then, was carried in the chair.

But the officers did not show any leniency even after seeing him in such a pitiful condition, his wife recounted.

Bincy said that Suneesh was disheartened over the ill-treatment meted out at him at the sub-registrar office. He had even asked if this was the treatment meted out to him, a government employee, what would be the state of the common folk.

After they returned home, Suneesh's health condition worsened. He died three days later.

Bincy thanked all those who supported her and the minister, who ordered for the suspension of the sub-registrar.

Criticising the official, the minister said, “The officials should look beyond Acts and rules, and show empathy and compassion... No leniency would be shown to any official who ill-treat the public.”

However, officials at the Kattappana sub-registrar office said that they were just following the procedures and nobody had informed them that Suneesh was a terminally-ill cancer patient.

Bincy is currently staying at the Kattappanna house with Suneesh's mother and her son, a class VI student. As soon as the PSC procedures are completed, Bincy would get the government job.

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