India 2018 – Find Your Gift and Give It Away

The folded sheet of paper was titled “Teresa’s Jumbled Thoughts.” During one of our final group breakfasts at the guest house in Bhopal, I had asked Teresa Von Hagel, RN, to share her impressions from the week. The following evening she handed me the paper, apologizing for her writing, even though it was beautiful, because it came from her heart. She shared a quote that’s displayed prominently in her home:   “The purpose of life is to find your gift and give it away.”   That quote captures the spirit of the work performed by Medical Missions ...

Read More


India 2018 – We’re Heading Home (Not)

After the windstorm, which blanketed green wheat fields with a dusty, gritty fog, and after the rainstorm that pounded our bus—the flimsy wipers were no match for the windshield waterfall obscuring our driver’s view—Brandon Pommeroy, MD, received a somewhat stormy text (at least to us).   “Our flight has been canceled,” he said.   We were supposed to fly home that night, and we were halfway through a bumpy four-hour ride to our hotel after a hurried visit to the Taj Mahal. The collective reaction in the bus seemed to be... Damn. Everyone ...

Read More


Meet our Spectacular Nurses

Nurses are awesome. This week in Bhopal, the mission’s ten nurses did what nurses do: perform critical skills at an extremely high level while showing tenderness, strength, patience, and passion. This online spotlight is our small way of saying thank you.

Read More


India 2018 – Our Favorite Photos

These are some of the memorable faces and scenes from the mission in Bhopal. Click on a photo for a larger image and to scroll through them all:

Read More


India 2018 – The Gallstone Scam

The healer placed her lips on Parwati’s bare stomach and sucked. Parwati, a 60-year-old seamstress, was suffering from a painful gallstone, and she had traveled from Bhopal to a rural village for the unconventional treatment. She lay on her back as the healer sucked, sucked, sucked to remove the stone. The healer then raised her head and pulled the stone from her mouth (you can see the supposed treatment here). Parwati was “cured” and left a donation. But the stone was still there, and six years later, she continues to suffer.   Parwati is one of two ...

Read More


India 2018 – A Father’s Advice

Growing up in Jabaleur, Pratibha Khare, MD, learned three key lessons from her father. The first: Education is vital. In 1934, her father earned his diploma in education after studying in England. “That’s why I’m educated,” says Pratibha, an anesthesiologist. “A lot of women at that time were not. He believed that if women are educated the country will prosper.” Lesson two: Don’t be greedy. “We always do for ourselves, but you should take care of other people,” she says. “That’s why we are in this world.” Lesson three: Care for your family. Always...

Read More


India 2018 – Powerful Partnerships

Josie Bell is getting emotional. For three days, the CRNA has worked with a local anesthesia tech named Tularam. Their communication is limited—“I think he understands me better than I understand him,” she says—but they have bonded in the OR. Until this week, Tularam had never worked directly with patients. Now, under Josie’s tutelage, he has learned about pre-care and post-care, and how to handle patients when they’re waking up.   “I have confidence after working with Josie,” he says through a translator outside the bustling OR. And that does ...

Read More


India 2018 – A Bond Between Strangers

Like so many good stories, this one starts with candy.   Four years ago, Abigail Hayo visited a merchant in Bhopal named Nirmaldas. Abigail is a mission coordinator for Medical Missions Foundation, and she was visiting the city on a scouting trip. Nirmaldas runs a tiny sundry shop. Candy jars line his counter, chip bags hang from clips. Abigail bought mango candy—his shop is near the Sewa Sadan Eye Hospital, where the organization now works annually—and each year, the tradition has continued: Abigail walks down the narrow, bustling street, past zigzagging ...

Read More


India 2018 – When I Grow Up…

For three years, eight-year-old Nandini Kumari has suffered from a hernia, but her family had no money for surgery. Her father operates a fruit cart in a town about 50 km away, and she is one of five kids. One sibling died from polio. Nandini’s aunt, who lives in Bhopal, told her family about the mission in Bhopal, and on Monday morning Nandini successfully underwent surgery. Her goal in life: To be a policewoman. “When I grow up, I am going to put the thieves in jail,” she says. Here is brave Nandini:

Read More


India 2018 – Surgery for Two-Year-Old Kunal

Rinky cradles her son, his head against her chest. Two-year-old Kunal is about to undergo surgery for a right inguinal hernia, as part of the first morning of work here in Bhopal. Rinky is nervous. Her left foot taps quickly against the floor as they wait with other patients near the operating room. Kunal whimpers, like tears are about to roll from his big eyes, then he gnaws on the red ID bracelet taped to his small wrist. His mother rocks him. And again her foot nervously shakes—tap tap tap tap tap.   Rinky lives with her husband and three children in a ...

Read More