Twenty-six-year-old Parth (right) was thrown off a bridge when riding his bike. He sustained a fracture dislocation of his spine with a complete cord injury. Parth had no chance of recovery of normal function. EHA’s Duncan Hospital medical team stabilized his spine and he was slowly started on a rehab program. At first, he experienced denial and depression, but over time he accepted his new reality and grew more independent. Parth was glad to receive constant encouragement from Duncan’s spinal cord injury “fraternity.” They knew exactly what he was going through. Now he runs a small shop outside his home, selling snacks to support himself. Parth is thankful for Duncan’s rehabilitation team and all they did to get him back on the road to independence.
Spinal Cord Injury Mela (Gathering) Held
For four years Duncan Hospital has been hosting a gathering for people with spinal cord injuries. Participants are seen by a team of doctors and therapists and assessed for pressure sores and other issues that affect them. Best of all, they are deeply impacted seeing others who have won wheelchair marathons despite being paraplegics. Over the last few years, more than 15 people have either been operated on or rehabilitated for spinal cord injury and its side effects. Duncan Hospital is the only center in the entire state of Bihar (123 million people) where a spinal cord injury rehab program exists.
Capital Improvements at Duncan
In a move toward green energy, Duncan Hospital purchased and installed a rooftop solar water heater for their Mother and Child Health building. Taking advantage of this new technology will enable the hospital to save money on utilities and always have a ready supply of hot water available for patient care.
They are very thankful for this new system and the positive changes it will bring to their hospital.
In addition, they purchased and installed a number of solar panels to generate electricity for the hospital. The Duncan team gathered on their rooftop for an inauguration ceremony in May.
Since electric service is often spotty in India, the consistent supply from these panels will ensure safe operation of the many medical machines used in patient care.
Another exciting development was the groundbreaking ceremony for a new men’s housing unit. This much-needed living space will replace older, worn-out buildings and will be a huge blessing to the men of Duncan.
A Little Girl Is Freed from a Huge Tumor
When Duncan Hospital’s Dr. Prabhu Joseph was contacted by a colleague from medical school, he was dumbfounded by the case presented to him. A four-year-old girl, Charvi, had an enormous tumor on her upper arm, and her parents had sought treatment in New Dehli but could not afford the cost of treatment. Dr. Joseph’s friend told him that he thought it was a malignant bone tumor, and asked him to consider operating on Charvi. Hesitant to attempt such a complicated surgery on such a young person, Dr Joseph realized that if he didn’t help this girl, who would?
When he met Charvi, he was astonished to see the size of the tumor. He knew he would have to remove part of her upper arm bone, the humerus, in order to get all of the tumor. Reconstructing that bone with part of Charvi’s shin bone was the only option. Sitting down with Charvi’s parents, he explained all of the risks, and they assured him they trusted him and wished to move ahead.
On the day of the surgery, Dr. Joseph worked alongside a nurse anesthetist since Duncan Hospital doesn’t have an anesthesiologist. Although he had to remove part of the biceps, Dr. Joseph was relived that he was able to free the tumor on all sides and save most of the other muscles, nerves, and arteries. He successfully inserted a graft from the fibula along with a wire into the remaining sections of Charvi’s humerus.
But the biggest joy in the days following surgery was that the pathologist reported the tumor as non-malignant. Charvi wore a shoulder bandage for three months and had several further steps in her treatment, including several casts. At her final appointment, Dr. Joseph determined that the bone graft was fully incorporated into the humerus.
Dr. Joseph has grown very close to Charvi and her family over the course of treatment, and they have since brought many friends and family members in for consultations with him. He is very thankful to have been a source of healing in this little girl’s life, and thankful that a seemingly immense task turned out to be straightforward with God’s hands guiding him.
Restoring Body and Soul
Despite his lack of educational opportunities due to finances, 16-year-old Raju Sahani worked hard as a manual laborer because he was determined to fulfill his dream of owning his own home and living a decent life.
Soon Raju’s parents decided it was time for him to marry, and he joined in the festivities in high spirits. Riding his bicycle to the market to pick up his wedding suit, Raju lost control on a small bridge and pitched over the side. The villagers quickly rushed him to a hospital where he was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury and sent to a more advanced facility. Raju received spinal surgery, but further rehabilitation was not available, and he was told to travel to a bigger city. He and his parents returned home dejected, unable to afford the travel and treatment.
Raju remained in bed, unable to move his trunk and lower limbs. Over time and without realizing it was happening, Raju developed deep pressure sores. He remained in this excruciating condition for years, hopeless and depressed. His dreams and goals died.
Ten years after his surgery, Duncan Hospital’s Community Health Project staff found Raju and recommended him to their Spinal Cord Injury Program. While in the 2-day program, he met others with similar injuries and problems. He and his family were educated about his condition and informed of his potential. He began to hope.
Raju underwent surgery on his pressure sores at a reduced rate. As he recovered at the hospital, he experienced the love and care of the people at Duncan, and he began to be drawn to God. A desire grew in his heart to put his life into the service of others. He was determined move ahead in his life.
Next Raju underwent two months of intensive rehabilitation in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department. He was taught to become independent despite his limitations. He became comfortable getting around in a wheelchair and felt like a new man with hope and a desire for a good quality of life ahead.
Today Raju is a cheerful man who volunteers in a learning center for underprivileged children. He believes in God and loves to serve Him by helping others.
Finding Relief from Seizures
Pintu was a 14-year-old boy who came to Duncan with a history of uncontrollable seizures over a seven-year span. His family had spent almost all their money going from hospital to hospital trying to find a cure. No one was able to get his seizures under control, even at the major medical institutions in Delhi.
He came to Duncan’s emergency department and received a thorough exam. His labs showed that the “seizures” he was having were muscular contractions caused by abnormal calcium metabolism. It was determined that Pintu had diminished parathyroid hormone secretions, so once he received medication to treat that condition along with calcium supplementation, this boy who had seized up to eight times a day was finally cured.
With tears in his eyes, his father told the hospital staff how bright his son was, but that due to his seizures, Pintu hadn’t been allowed to go to school. Everyone thought his family was cursed because of his son’s condition. He said, “I have gone to every part of this country for a cure, and if only I had brought him to Duncan years ago, how much better my son would have been!”
Pintu returns to Duncan regularly for checkups and continues to do well. He is getting private tutoring to catch up in his studies. This young man’s life was drastically changed thanks to the thorough medical care he received at this EHA hospital.
Brought Back to Life—Three Times
The odds were stacked against her. Ragini, a 19-year-old young woman, found out her husband had lost his job and responded by attempting suicide. Upon arrival at Duncan Hospital, she was struggling to breathe, so the staff intubated her immediately and placed her on the ventilator in the ICU. In her first two days in the hospital, she had three separate instances of cardiac arrest lasting at least five minutes and requiring CPR. Each time, the medical team faithfully got her heart going again.
She then developed intermediate syndrome, which paralyzed her for almost three weeks. After almost a month in the hospital, this woman whom hospital staff did not think would survive, much less speak or eat again on her own, was able to do all that and more. Ragini walked home on her own two feet. Her family was so grateful for the care provided to her at Duncan—especially the nurses who lovingly cared for her for over a month and kept her from getting bedsores.
Ragini came back for a visit three months later, a completely transformed young woman with no residual neurological deficit. Everyone was thankful for her miraculous healing.
Feet Made Whole
Little Ashish was born with a clubfoot condition in both feet.
Naturally, his parents were concerned, so after hearing about the disability screening camps held by Duncan’s Community Based Rehabilitation Department, they brought him in when he was six months old. They had been told by the doctor at the government hospital where he was born that his treatment would involve surgery and could not begin until he was a year old.
The doctors at Duncan Hospital asked the parents to bring Ashish in weekly for serial plaster applications. After seven casts, his feet no longer had any deformity. He will continue to wear splints and hopefully will lead a normal life. Ironically, a child brought in to a disability screening camp now is no longer disabled.
Mother and Child Health Building Addresses Growth
Duncan Hospital has taken a giant step forward in their care for expectant mothers. Patients are now seen in the Mother and Child Health building, which opened in August of 2011. During the first month of this facility’s use, 661 babies were born. This building is enabling doctors and nurses to provide better, safer care for mothers and their children.
Many Indian women who do not live near an EHA hospital give birth at home, where the consequences of complications can endanger the lives of both the mother and baby. The compassionate care patients receive from doctors and nurses at Duncan often is the only medical care they have access to.
The hospital serves approximately two million people from an area in the north Indian state of Bihar as well as parts of neighboring Nepal. If it were not for Duncan, these people would have nowhere to go for safe, sanitary medical care. The original building was constructed in the 1950s and had deteriorated significantly. Every year, during the monsoon season, parts of the hospital would flood.
The new facility is cleaner, more spacious, and has more natural light and ventilation. The nurses’ stations are within the wards so nurses are better able to monitor and care for patients. Currently, all inpatient services have been moved to this new facility until funds are raised to build separate medical and surgical wards as well as a complex for radiology, x-ray, ultrasound, and laboratory services.
School of Nursing and Medical Laboratory Technology
India has a critical need for primary health care training. An extension of Duncan Hospital’s efforts to serve the poor is its School of Nursing. The students take the three-year General Nurse Midwife program, and must pass both written theory tests as well as practical exams. Once these students graduate, they can move on to become staff nurses and help the many patients they encounter.
Students often come from lower-middle-class or middle-class backgrounds from many different Indian states and also from Nepal. Some desire to upgrade from their status as Auxiliary Nurse Midwives, which is a two-year degree. The Duncan School of Nursing began in the 1950s and the General Nurse Midwife program started in the 1970s. To date, 586 nurses have graduated from the GNM program and gone on to serve at EHA or other hospitals. The School of Nursing expects to receive approval from the Indian Nursing Council as a College of Nursing so that they can offer Bachelor of Science training as well. Duncan’s School of Medical Laboratory Technology also offers a course at the Bachelor of Science level to train students to become laboratory technologists. These students support the medical treatment of the doctors by collecting samples of body fluids such as blood in order to conduct tests, document results, and send this information to the doctors.
About Duncan Hospital
Located in Raxaul, Duncan Hospital serves 11 million people in North Bihar and Southern Nepal. It was founded by Dr. H. Cecil Duncan in 1930 and shaped by Dr. Trevor Strong and his wife, Patricia. The Regions Beyond Missionary Union managed the hospital until 1974, when it was handed over to EHA. Duncan’s service priorities now include obstetrics and gynecology, medicine, surgery, pediatrics, ophthalmology, radiology, and dentistry. They also provide nursing services and education.
Duncan’s current goals include striving to establish and maintain principles as they look beyond their hospital walls to impact the town and surrounding communities. Working toward social and physical transformation, they desire to impact the community’s holistic health, facilitate groups for worship, and develop trust with the local community.
In 2011, Duncan Hospital opened its new Mother and Child Health Block, a brand new facility that houses up-to-date medical equipment and patient care areas. This building has 235 patient beds as well as operating rooms, labor rooms, an ICU, and wards for pediatric patients, obstetric and gynecological patients, and newborns.
The hospital runs community health and development programs focused on six areas: urban community development; rural community development; community based rehabilitation for children with disabilities; HIV and AIDS care; community eye services; and community dental services.
They seek to work with the community to meet the needs of the poorest people, wanting to make sure that no one goes without medical care because of a lack of funds. Offering prenatal care, they help women prepare for safe childbirth and make wise decisions regarding medical care for themselves and their children. They seek to raise awareness about AIDS and HIV within the community. They also offer a literacy program, trying to help everyone who desires to learn to read.