Kolkata: A 52-year-old man struggling to bear the expense of his wife’s cancer treatment ended his life by jumping off the terrace of a four-storey housing complex at Regent Park in south Kolkata on Monday.
Cops suspect Sanjay Mandal, a security guard, acted out of desperation as he was finding it difficult to arrange funds for his wife’s lung cancer treatment.
The incident took place at Saptasur co-operative housing society on MM Dutta Road around 5.30am. Witnesses saw Mandal standing on the landing of the terrace and then taking the plunge Local called police and took him to MR Bangur Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival by an attending doctor.
Cost of treatment often drive cancer patients’ families to bankruptcy , said oncologists. About a fourth of those seeking treatment in Kolkata fail to afford even the basic treatment expenses, pointed out oncologist Gautam Mukhopadhyay . “Nearly half of cancer patients in Kolkata first seek treatment in private hospitals. They have to be counselled about the longterm costs. Once they know the possible expenses, they are able to take an informed decision, which saves them from bankruptcy ,” said Mukhopadhyay.
Even though treatment in government hospitals is free, they have a long waiting time for radiotherapy ses sions. Unless planned in advance under the supervision of a doctor, patients are made to wait weeks for chemotherapy as well.
“The average waiting time for radiotherapy is three months. So, I try to block the radiotherapy dates even before a patient has been sent for chemotherapy ,” said Subir Ganguly , se nior oncologist at RG Kar Medical College Hospital. He added that patients in Bengal should be discouraged from seeing treatment at dubious hospitals of other states.
According to police, Mandal was suffering from depression since his wife was diagnosed with the disease a few years back. “His father, who died earlier this year, used to fund the treatment from his pension. The man never had a stable job. So after his father died, the burden of funding the treatment came upon him,” said an officer.
The officer added that the man’s wife had told them that he used to say that he wanted to die before her as he could not see her dying without treatment.
“Although we have not found any suicide note, it looks like a case of suicide. We have sent the body for postmortem for a confirmation,” said the officer.
After Mandal’s death, his wife has been taken to her sister’s place. “Her elder sister is now looking after her.She is also depressed,” the officer added. The couple did not have any children and used to live on the first floor of a four-storey building.