Herbertpur Christian Hospital
Last year, Herbertpur Christian Hospital (HCH) dedicated their much-awaited new inpatient building, which houses general wards, private and semi-private rooms, and an ICU. Recently, a four-year-old boy was hit by a car and suffered severe injuries. Pramod was brought into HCH for treatment. After caring for his immediate needs, pediatric surgeon Dr. Viju John recommended that Pramod be taken to a facility with more advanced treatment options. But his family could not afford this, so they requested that he be treated at Herbertpur. Pramod ended up staying in the new ICU for over a month, and his recovery was remarkable. His final bill of almost $3,000 was partially taken care of by donations, and the balance of $1,650 was written off by the hospital, despite their difficult financial situation during the pandemic.
Another story of ICU use involved a newborn. After a woman named Imrana came to HCH in labor, she had to have a C-section due to fetal distress. After surgery, baby Gauri needed oxygen and was breathing too quickly, so she was taken to the NICU and put on maximum oxygen through a box surrounding her head. However, Gauri worsened over time. The grave situation was explained to the parents.
The only option left was to put Gauri on a ventilator. Thankfully, generous donors had recently given a neonatal ventilator to Herbertpur. This piece of equipment is a luxury few Indian mission hospitals have. Gauri was intubated, but further investigations revealed severe respiratory failure with little chance of recovery. With faith and hope, the staff continued to treat Gauri, and she made steady progress over the next few days. The doctors were able to take her off the ventilator after four days, but she still needed supplemental oxygen for eight more days. Everyone was thrilled when Gauri was healed.
Imrana and her husband were able to pay less than 5 percent of the total hospital bill, but the look of gratefulness in their eyes was priceless. Looking back, if a neonatal ventilator and intensive care had not been available, this poor couple could have lost their beautiful daughter, just because they could not afford care anywhere else. The HCH staff were grateful to play a part in saving a precious soul, and they know that this is likely the first of many babies who will be saved by this important piece of equipment.
Children Step Up to Feed Patients
As is typical at hospitals in India, Herbertpur Christian Hospital has a cafeteria that prepares food for the staff, but not for the patients and their families. Normally, the relatives of patients come to the hospital with them, stay for the duration of care, and provide food for themselves and the patient.
But during COVID-19, many patients’ relatives simply couldn’t purchase groceries because the neighborhood shops were closed. So the children of HCH’s staff decided to step in and fill the gap.
These young people came forward and cooked free meals for those who had nothing to eat. Both the patients and their family members benefited from this generous outreach. It is refreshing to see some good being done in these difficult times.
Tetanus Threatens Young Woman’s Life
Krishna was only 13 and she was in agony. She arrived at Herbertpur Christian Hospital gripped by several abdominal pain and experiencing lockjaw and spasms in her hands and feet. It did not take the doctors long to diagnose Krishna with tetanus.
Two weeks earlier, Krishna had been injured with an iron wire, resulting in a deep cut. At that point, she had not been given a tetanus vaccination, and now she was paying the price. The doctors swung into action giving her immunoglobulin and a vaccination and cleaning the unhealthy tissue from her wound. They admitted her to the pediatric ICU. With various supportive measures, care, and prayer, Krishna slowly began to improve and the misery of her pain lifted. After two weeks, she was able to walk home with her family with joy on their faces.
Krishna’s mother said that they were very happy with the care their daughter received. She said, “The treatment in your hospital is very good. The ICU doctors and nurses took very good care of my child and saved her. The nurses kept giving us timely updates on her progress. Our family will always be thankful to Herbertpur for making her well.”
Canadian Nursing Students Visit HCH
Six Canadian nursing students from Saskatchewan Nursing School and their instructor, Kimberly Thiessen, spent a month at Herbertpur. Having a chance to learn from medical staff in another culture and environment is an invaluable experience for nursing students. They were able to gain knowledge and skills in both hospital care and community health programs as they participated in various activities.
The Herbertpur nursing school’s newest students have begun their education. The freshmen were welcomed to the school with a ceremony. For most of these young people, the opportunity to become a nurse is a pathway out of poverty, not only for them, but for their families as well.
Once they graduate, they have the opportunity to stay on at one of EHA’s hospitals or to seek employment elsewhere, but they are always sought after in the job market due to their excellent training. Seven of EHA’s hospitals now have nursing schools, and over 400 young men and women are currently in training.
First Class of Nursing Students Graduates at Herbertpur
Three years ago, the Herbertpur School of Nursing was started—the only Christian nursing school in Uttarakhand. Recently, 19 nursing students comprised the very first graduating class of that school. Their path to success was not an easy one, but they overcame all obstacles with a sense of team spirit.
Several EHA leaders spoke at the ceremony about the importance of nurses in the medical work that EHA does. Awards were distributed to graduates who had excelled in academics, clinicals, and overall areas of development. Students shared about their experiences, and their parents expressed deep gratitude to the HCH School of Nursing for the opportunities it has afforded their daughters.
We wish each and every one of these nursing graduates great success as they move into the working world, whether they choose to serve at an EHA hospital or to go out as salt and light into the world.
Snapshots of Patients Helped at Herbertpur
Each EHA hospital provides not only medical care, but many other services as well. Herbertpur Christian Hospital is no exception. The following is a compilation of many people who have been helped by Herbertpur in different ways.
Vidya Devi got a hip replacement for 60 percent less than the regular fee. Now she is happily mobile again.
Mojan was an alcoholic who struggled to have healthy relationships and provide for his family. Herbertpur’s psychiatrist counseled him, and the HBC team was able to rehabilitate him. He is pictured with his wife, children, and the psychiatrist.
Seventeen-year-old Faika tried to commit suicide by swallowing acid. When she was brought into Herbertpur, she was despondent and couldn’t swallow. Herbertpur’s medical team reconstructed her esophagus free of charge, and today she is happily married.
Shah Rukh was bedridden until the HCH team found him and cared for him. After administering medical care and therapy, the Herbertpur team advocated on Shah’s behalf so he could attend regular school once again. He is happy to be a part of his class at school, learning and spending time with friends.
The Anugrah Intervention Centre is the only one of its kind in the region, ministering to children and adults with special needs. They provide therapy, life skills development, and support. Currently they staff five peripheral units to care for children in outlying villages. Ensuring that each person has a chance for an education is key for this ministry.
Chapel Construction Completed—In-Patient Building Next
Everyone at Herbertpur Christian Hospital is excited by their newly renovated chapel building. This single-story building project was supported by the Australian High Commission and friends of EHA in the US. Scottish architect David Fleck volunteered to develop the concept and design, and American civil engineer Stella Lee completed the construction drawings. It’s beautiful to see so many of God’s people come together to make a project happen. Many of Herbertpur’s buildings are close to 70 years old, so it is time for some new construction.
Next in line is rebuilding the main inpatient building. Herbertpur staff see an average of 350 patients a day, and the current facilities are not adequate for such traffic. The only place for emergency and critical care in a 20-mile radius (a large distance for those who don’t own a vehicle), Herbertpur serves patients from up to 60 miles away who travel more than four hours to get there. Imagine having to travel four hours every time you needed to see a doctor!
The current building leaks during rainy season and has only 7 beds and just 1 ventilator in the ICU. They often have to turn away critical-care patients and send them to an expensive, exploitative hospital in Dehradun. The proposed new 3-story building would have a combined area of 30,000 square feet and would allow expansion of the School of Nursing as well. Some of the funds have been raised, but they need an additional $770,000 to complete the building and purchase equipment for it. If you would like to contribute toward this project, visit our donation page.
Training Up the Next Generation
Herbertpur Christian Hospital began its nursing school three years ago. They have 30 students in each session, half from the government and half who come on their own as Christians. They were initially hesitant to accept government students, but it has turned out to be a form of outreach, with three students recently accepting God. The instructors work hard to teach the students values and develop them as people.
Typically, the training process for both doctors and nurses in India is very selfish with a focus on self-promotion: how to pass the exams, get a great job, and make as much money as possible. But at Herbertpur Nursing School, the instructors strive to teach their students how to be caring and compassionate with all patients. They learn how to demonstrate their values in their speech, attitudes, and actions. In their second year, the nursing students go to visit and learn from another hospital, and they are immediately recognized as being different. They are among the best students and are sought after upon graduation because others have a positive professional opinion of them. Even though the pay is significantly lower, most of these nursing students choose to stay within EHA upon graduation, but those who do go elsewhere are sent out as salt and light.
They also have a one-month pre-nursing curriculum called Dilase (“from the heart”) that the students go through to set the tone before they begin nursing courses. They have trained tutors to teach this curriculum that focuses on values, commitment, and personal development. They have now used this curriculum for all nursing staff, not just students, and are considering requiring this curriculum for the doctors as well.
Herbertpur is currently putting up the infrastructure for a new building for the nursing school, partially financed by the efforts of Living Truth ministries. The second phase will include a new building with a student cafeteria and hostel. The cost will be about $23,000 and supporters in Switzerland are funding half of this project so far.
The cost of a year of nursing school for each student is 65,000 rupees, or $1,000. The addition of food and housing brings the cost to 100,000 rupees, or $1,500. Despite the fact that this amount wouldn’t pay for one biology class in a US nursing program, this is significantly more than many young women’s families can raise, so often they are given partial support from the school. Students who are promising and who deserve the help are admitted despite being short on finances. The chance to become a nurse provides a pathway out of poverty for these women, and they often have no other option for schooling that will help them obtain a professional job like nursing. And often, once a young woman becomes a nurse and begins to earn money, she will help support her parents and siblings. So when you help a young woman become a nurse, you are not only helping her and her future patients, you are helping a whole family rise out of poverty.
If you would like to give to help fund the new nursing facilities, or to support a young women desiring to better her life and the life of her family, you can go to our donations page and choose the Nursing Education Fund in the drop-down menu.
The Lame Shall Walk
The name Milan means “to bring together” in Hindi. The young man named Milan who came to EHA for help certainly brought together an amazing team. At the age of 26, he had been experiencing back and hip pain for 10 years. His hips were beginning to fuse together which would prevent him from working in manual labor and devastate his family.
He needed a hip replacement in both hips—a major undertaking. He was told to travel to Herbertpur Christian Hospital 3,000 km (1,900 miles) away—an almost impossible feat for a poor young Indian man. But Milan had enough faith to travel to the other end of India where the language and culture would be totally different—and enough faith to put his life in the hands of a medical team he had only heard about. He had only $2,000 of the $5,000 needed for the hip implants, and planned to sell the only plot of land his family owned to make up the difference. Staff at Herburtpur refused to allow him to do so, trusting God to make up the difference.
At the time of his surgery, a renowned orthopedist from the southern-most state in India was visiting Herbertpur, and he offered his services. Milan stayed 90 days and went through two major surgeries and a host of other issues along the way—and he saw God provide again and again. The staff rushed to get blood when he needed it, and they prayed for him when he felt depressed. Others gave to meet his financial needs.
Milan, through his step of faith in travelling so far in the hope of being able to walk again truly brought everyone together, reminding us once again of the enormous need there is for the type of care EHA provides. The trust patients like Milan have in EHA causes staff to go the extra mile to help bring healing. The day Milan walked out of the hospital on his own was a day of joy for all to see.
Freedom Is Found
Rihana was a 17-year-old student who developed a headache one day. Soon after that, she began behaving in an unusual manner. Her family was concerned and brought her to a community doctor. Her strange symptoms continued, with Rihana often muttering to herself and laughing loudly. Others thought perhaps she was possessed by an evil spirit, so they took her to a witchcraft practitioner, but no improvement was observed.
After the family had spent a lot of money on medical care and strong medication, Rihana was still often bedridden. At this point, Herbertpur staff in the Community Health and Development Department heard about her story. They convinced the family to give one last option a chance, and Rihana was brought to Herbertpur Christian Hospital where she was diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder. She was put on medication with counseling support.
After three months of medication, Rihana’s family could see a dramatic change in her health. With continued monitoring and care, she became stable and began regaining her abilities. Because of this, the family’s and community’s attitude toward mental illness changed. People in the community understand that mental illness is treatable if not curable. Now Rihana is back in school, and her family is full of joy.
About Herbertpur Christian Hospital
In 1936, Dr. Geoffrey Lehmann and his wife, Monica, came to Herbertpur with a desire to begin a medical mission where God would be preached about. Initially, he held a medical clinic each morning on a tea planter’s veranda. Eventually, he discovered a plot of land where three tea estates met, purchased the land, and began to build Herbertpur Christian Hospital, commonly known as Lehmann Hospital. The Lehmanns’ passion was to serve the poor and marginalized and to see the kingdom of God established in the surrounding districts and hill areas. They chose Luke 9:2, “Preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick,” to put on the front of the hospital. Dr. Lehmann’s concern over having so many patients with eye disease go untreated caused him to seek more education in Ophthalmology and begin eye camps. Many patients with TB also came to the hospital from across the mountains. As the Lehmann’s grew older, they began to pray for missionaries to take over the work they had begun. In 1973, Dr. Lehmann joyfully handed over HCH to EHA’s management and leadership. His last request to his successors was “that no patient be turned away because they cannot afford the treatment, and no patient should leave the hospital without hearing about God.”
Today, Herbertpur Christian Hospital offers services in the specialties of pediatric surgery, pediatrics, orthopedics, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, dentistry, clinical psychology and counseling, physio and occupational therapy, as well as a program for children with special needs. Their many Community Health Programs serve to provide rehabilitation for children with cerebral palsy, to improve literacy, to increase health awareness, to offer HIV testing, and to provide care for TB patients.
In the future, Herbertpur hopes to develop a blood bank facility so that patients will always have their needs met. They also plan to build a new 150-bed inpatient facility to provide quality care and a favorable environment for patients. Developing a nursing school is another goal due to the shortage of nurses and nurse midwives in rural north India. Throughout this planning, the HCH staff are thankful to God for his faithfulness in the midst of their challenges and struggles over the years.