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 ...

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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...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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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:

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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 ...

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India 2018 – Preparing for a Big Day

Sunday is set-up day at the Sewa Sadan Eye Hospital in Bhopal. Surgical nurses unload supplies and arrange instruments. Surgeons screen patients. Behind a white curtain in a crowded waiting area, urologist Brandon Pomeroy, MD, interviews a patient with translation help from Nyana Sabharwal. He reviews the patient’s information and smiles.   “We’ll fix him up,” says Brandon.   Nyana shares this with the patient in Hindi. He beams and nods his head.   Many of these patients have endured their ailments for years—sometimes as long ...

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India 2018 – A Passion for People

I’m not a health-care professional, but my wife is a nurse practitioner. Because of that, I’ve learned a few things about medical folks. Number one: When you go to dinner with a group of nurses, the gross medical stories always start when the food arrives. Always. Number two: Physicians and nurses are among the kindest, most decent, most dedicated human beings I’ve ever met.   That passion for people is why I’m so excited to be joining the Medical Missions Foundation’s upcoming trip to India on February 23. This is the organization’s third ...

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India 2017 – And It Ends…Or Does It Have To?

As quickly as this mission began it is now over. We are all home and slowly processing the events of our week in India. In the last few days I have spent more hours on a train that I want to admit; countless hours traveling home and several jet lagged coma induced hours since I have been home thinking about how I can wrap up our mission to India in a few paragraphs. I want so badly to honor the work that our team did that I want to carefully choose the right words. Please, if I miss don’t let it diminish the accomplishments of the other 25 members of our mission team. ...

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India 2017 – He Cried

I don’t want to brag but I have to be the member of this mission team with the best of all responsibilities. Each day I take photos of anything about our trip including the surrounding area and I get to write about anything I want. I have full access to talk with each member of our team every day about cases, how they are feeling and what they have seen. I have the chance to hear each person’s part of a medical case but there is a good chance I am the ONLY person that has heard the whole story about a particular patient. As the pieces of one of the cases started to ...

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