STORIES FROM THE HEART
Here are a few of the stories of patients that have touched us and encourage us to go on.
10-hour-old baby of Yeshmina Begum and Razab Ali, teachers in a primary school of Sonitpur District, was born after prolonged labor in a secondary care hospital with a birth weight of 2.5kg. The baby boy had birth asphyxia and did not cry soon after birth. After initial resuscitation, the baby was transferred to the Baptist Christian Hospital, Tezpur. The baby was dehydrated, had features of early onset neonatal sepsis and had multifocal neonatal seizures. After assessment in the emergency unit, the baby was stabilized and transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit of the hospital. He was started on antibiotics, anticonvulsants and was given intravenous fluids to maintain her blood glucose and electrolyte levels. After intensive management of seizures, the baby stopped seizing after 24 hours. He developed non-hemolytic hyperbilirubinemia, which required phototherapy for 24 hours. He was started on graded feeds with expressed breast milk through a nasogastric tube and was breast-feeding within 80 hours of birth. He was started on early intervention therapy by our occupational and physiotherapists and have advised the family to have a close follow up of the developmental milestones of the baby to prevent any further morbidity.
The entire treatment cost was subsidized and helped a baby find life that is in line with the mission of the organization – to serve the poor and the marginalized.
18 month old John was brought with history of vomiting and abdominal pain to the hospital that had lasted 14 days. He was seen at various hospitals and given medications. He was seen in the emergency department was diagnosed to have meningitis. A CT scan of the brain revealed severe hydrocephalus. He was advised to go to a higher center for the neurosurgical intervention as we did not have any facilities here.
The parents were reluctant to go because of financial difficulties. And asked us to do whatever was possible. After extensive discussions we contacted a friend who is a neurosurgeon at Guwahati (about 4 hours away by road) and requested for his services. He readliy agreed and drove down to do the neurosurgical procedure using makeshift equipment.
Within 24 hours, the baby improved and was discharged on the fourth post-operative day. Investigations of the Cerebro-spinal flluid revealed tuberculosis and he was started on anti-tuberculous therapy through the DOTS program.
He is doing well and the parents have expressed their gratitude many times over. They say that their child has found his second life here at BCH and praised the team. The costs for treatment were less than 5% of the total cost they would have had to bear, had they gone to any other hospital.
Baby was saved
Got a second life...
Dare to be vulnerable
Last week my wife told me of a story that brought her to tears. Apparently a patient whom she had treated some time ago had revisited her to check if she was fine, because the week prior to that she had delivered a still born baby. So my wife had her checked and said she was fine and could go home and wait to conceive again. She and her husband left the room but after a while when my wife went out of the room and in again checking other patients they kept following her where she went. She noticed that and stopped to ask if there was a problem, the husband called her aside and said they saved Rs 50 for her and they wanted her to have it as a gift of gratitude so she could buy some sweets for herself. The reason being 7 other hospitals and turned them away until they came to this specific hospital where they happened to meet my wife and be accepted without hesitation. She tells me that she went back to her room and cried, of course she couldn't accept the gift, it was all they had but to imagine the humiliation they would have borne to be turned away time and again for the lack of enough resources at hand.
But the idea that Jesus embraced human vulnerability raises a crucial question. For what reason did Jesus live as a human susceptible to the struggles of life? He is sensitive to the needs of those on the very bottom of the social and religious rung of first-century Palestine, not because he is divine, but because he has embraced human vulnerability for the purpose of associating with those most vulnerable in his world.
May I encourage you to give up various forms of pretense and dare to be vulnerable, dare to love, dare to accept that you can be humiliated, dare to acknowledge that you can hurt and be hurt because you have a heart of flesh, regardless of your social standing or your status in the hierarchy of power. It is only in humble recognition that we can be exposed and susceptible to the pressures of life that we can truly understand the meaning of Christmas.
Rev. Daniel Anand Peacock
(His wife Dr. Sonia Mathai was the Obstetrician at the Baptist Christian Hospital. They have a daughter Annabelle Serina Peacock)