Temple of Healing
VOLUME 1 , ISSUE 4, JULY-AUGUST, 2018
REMOTE CARE THROUGH TELEMEDICINE
N.SURESH, DEPARTMENT OF TELEMEDICINE, SSSIHMS, PRASANTHIGRAM
Telemedicine works on the principle of ''move the information not the patient''
A sickly two-year-old boy from the Indian state of Odisha visited the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasathigram, for the treatment of a complex congenital heart ailment. The boy, after the required tests, was admitted and later got operated and went home. The surgery brought about an astounding change in the boy’s demeanour. During a routine consultation, a couple of years later, the Head of Department and senior cardiac surgeon, Dr Neelam Desai saw a school going little boy and she came to know that it was the same kid, whom she had operated earlier. She was thrilled to see that the kid had put on weight and was no more looking sickly. Further, the boy had started going to school like any other child. After the consultation, the parents and the cheerful kid took leave of Dr. Desai. And here lies the interesting bit, the boy and his parents were around 1200 km away from Dr. Desai. Magic? No, Telemedicine.
This was one of the hundreds of cases in which Telemedicine, one can say, had worked its magic.
To know how Telemedicine was established at both of Swami’s hospitals, we need to go back into history a bit.
At both super specialty hospitals of Bhagawan Baba, the patient trends showed that a majority of the cardiac patients visited the hospitals from the two Eastern states of India, Odisha and West Bengal. It was also understood that from these two states the compliance of patient follow up was low, mainly due of financial reasons. Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba then directed the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust (SSSCT) to take adequate measures to help the patients. The SSSCT then started looking for a way to surmount the problem. The SSSCT came to know about the fact that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the purpose of bringing the benefits of space technology in specific areas of national development like health care and education had been supporting satellite-based telemedicine and tele-education programmes in the country, that too completely free of charge. Based on the specific need of the patients Telemedicine facility started at the SSSIHMS, Whitefield, in 2007 and later at SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram in 2013, while Tele-education facility began at SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram in 2007.
So the SSSCT entered into a MoU with ISRO to offer satellite based telemedicine and tele-education services from its super specialty hospitals at Prasanthigram, Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh and Whitefield, Bangalore, Karnataka.
One of the basic ideas of telemedicine could be expressed simply by saying: "Move the information, not the patient".
Two remote locations were, therefore, set up by the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations, one in Bhubaneshwar in Odisha and the second at Barrackpore in West Bengal. At SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, the facility is currently being provided for post-operative cardiac patients, while at the SSSIHMS, Whitefield, post-operative care for cardiac surgery and neuro-surgery patients.
Doctors who are attached to the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations are posted at the telemedicine centers and they screen the patients and document details like complaints and symptoms, medicines being currently taken etc. and send the details to SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, electronically.
At SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, the consultant reviews the patient’s past and current records, converses with the patient and the attending physician live over satellite based video-conference facility and suggests suitable remedies, further investigations or in-person consultation, if necessary. Even though patients are well counselled before they leave the hospital about the care they have to take at home, they sometimes may get confused or misguided. In such situations also Telemedicine centers could be approached for clarifications.
The doctors at the telemedicine centers at Odisha and West Bengal have been trained at SSSIHMS.
The best part of this program is that the patient and specialist get to see and talk to each other directly. Another advantage is that the local doctor conveys the specialist’s advice in the local language of the patient. The patient also avoids the physical strain and expenses of travelling long distances from either Bengal or Odisha to Puttaparthi and also saves the money lost due to absence from work. As already mentioned the patient would only be asked to visit the hospital if his or her physical presence is necessary.
Since inception of tele-consultation services on 12 June 2013 up to 31 May 2018, the Department of Cardio-Thoracic and Vascular Surgery (CTVS) at SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram has provided 2,165 tele-consultations in 352 working days.
Swami has thus ensured that the health-care mission, He started, is not confined to the boundaries of the hospital but goes beyond, right till the patient’s home.
A special mention needs to be made here of the dedicated workers at the Telemedicine centers at Bhubaneshwar and Barrackpore. The doctors and allied staff at these centres are volunteers and perform their duties as an offering at the Lotus Feet of Bhagawan Baba.
Apart from tele-consultation, the telemedicine center at SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, has been playing an active role in supporting the academic programme of the hospital by means of enabling live participation in Continuing Medical Education (CME), lectures and discussions with institutions like Sankara Nethralaya and Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Whitefield, Bengaluru, Karnataka. Since inception in September 2007, up to 31 May 2018, the hospital has participated in more than 1000 tele-CME's.
"This hospital is dedicated for the welfare of the poor. I am happy only when the poor are served. I have dedicated My entire life for the uplift of the poor and downtrodden." --Bhagawan Baba
A Tele-education session in progress at SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram. The session is being conducted in Chennai which is around 400 kms from Puttaparthi. The post graduate students can view proceedings live also interact with the lecturers.
BHAGAWAN SRI SATHYA SAI BABA visited the hospital in december 2004, following is the video of his arrival at the hospital and granting darshan to the hospital staff
JOURNEY TO SAI
SRI S. SASHIDHAR, ESTABLISHMENT DEPARTMENT, SSSIHMS, PRASANTHIGRAM
Sai, the Abhayadayaka: Bhagawan and Sri Sashidhar during the one of Bhagawan's visits to the hospital
IN THIS EDITION OF EXPERIENCES WE HAVE SRI SASHIDHAR WHO HAS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH THE sssihms, PRASANTHIGRAM, FROM THE FIRST DAY. HERE HE TALKS ABOUT HIS JOURNEY TO SAI
My first encounter with my Mother Sai was 49 years ago in the year 1969 in Hyderabad when I was just ten years old. Later in the year 1970 I visited Puttaparthi for the first time just two days after Swami's Birthday celebrations were over. It was a sight to behold Swami moving freely in the Darshan ground in front of the Prasanthi Mandir. He then casually walked into a shed, which later became the Poornachandra auditorium. Once inside the shed Swami showered His grace on one and all - talking to some, smiling at others and creating vibhuti for some. It was as if an unknown bond coming down the ages connected Swami to each one of them. In the deepest recesses of my heart I knew Prasanthi Nilayam would be my home.
I was lucky to become a Sevadal in the year 1974 and was fortunate to receive the sevadal scarf and badge directly from Bhagawan's Divine hands. Bhagawan while handing over the scarf said “very happy, serve with love and devotion, be humble, sweet and sincere”. Since then I served as sevadal volunteer till 1983 in Hyderabad. Then I moved to Bangalore and served there till June 1991. I had the great privilege of being in-charge of Swami's room in Shivam at Hyderabad and Sai Darshan in Bangalore.
Since birth I had congenital cataract in both eyes and I did not have regular schooling. I studied first and second standard in Bangalore and third and fourth standard in Secunderabad. As my condition would not permit, I then completed rest of my schooling privately. In the year 1974 when I was sitting in Shivam (Swami's Ashram in Hyderabad) for Darshan, Swami came down the stairs walked towards me, created vibhuthi, applied it on my throat and neck and put a dot on my forehead and said “don't worry I will take care” without me telling anything to Swami. With the Blessings of Bhagawan I completed Matriculation and Intermediate through distance education and joined a 3 year B.Com degree in a regular college. After the college I used to either go to Shivam or our local Sai Samithi for service activities. While performing Seva I learn't that when we follow the message of Swami -Service to Man is Service to God- He will take care of us. That’s how I could secure first class in all the three years. It is only through the Grace of Swami that I could get a degree, that too with distinction in 1983. Then I applied for M.Com, which was introduced for the first time at the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning (SSSIHL) and I passed the written exam and got selected for the interview next day. I sat for Darshan in the afternoon. Swami walked towards me and smilingly asked “why are you sitting here go home, you have many things to do”. Without attending the interview I went home.
Which ever eye hospital we visited, we were told that the chances of me getting a normal sight were miniscule. In 1986 my father took me to a private eye hospital in Madurai. I told my father that it would be my last visit to any eye hospital. I was very much dejected and feeling bad for all the trouble I was putting the my father through.
But when I entered the hospital, the first thing I saw was Bhagawan's picture with both the hands raised as blessing. Below it was written 'why fear when I am here”. It was a booster dose for my dejected morale. We were then given appointment to meet the chief surgeon. After going through the records and examining my eyes he said, get admitted tomorrow and we will operate the following day. When we asked about the success, he said "You will have normal vision with God’s grace".
Hospital Rounds: Swami would take rounds of the hospital in a special electric car. This electric car has been preserved and currently kept in the exhibition area of the hospital. Bhagawan is seen here speaking to Sri Sashidhar during the rounds of the hospital.
After admission a nurse came and asked, "is no one with you?" I told her about my condition. My father was not carrying enough cash and had gone to arrange for the same. She encouraged me and said “I will look after you till your father returns. Have full faith in God. Next day early morning I was taken to the operation theatre and was brought back to the ward in about forty five minutes. Both my eyes were covered. The sister told me to lie straight on the bed. I slept till evening.
Next morning father came and at the same time the doctors also came for rounds. After opening the bandage they asked me to open the eyes slowly. I could see only Swami's smiling face in the light opposite to me. The doctors examined the eye and said that everything was fine. I was so happy to hear this. Then My father and I wanted to thank the sister who took care of me in his absence. When we inquired, we were surprised to know that there was no sister by that description in the whole hospital! Do I need to say more? As assured by Bhagawan in 1974, He took perfect care of me and I got normal vision in both eyes. I reached Parthi to see Swami. During the Darshan, Swami came to me and said “You had very good rest after surgery, did you have food at night? How are you feeling now?” I thanked Swami for His kind care in the form of the nurse. Swami smiled and said “no thanks” and created vibhuthi for me.
It was in May 1991, I had an early morning dream in which I saw myself working in Swami's hospital.
The Summer course had started in Brindavan Ashram and I was allotted duty at the Kalyana Mandapam for 20 days. On 9th June 1991 when Swami came for Darshan, He came to me and asked in Kannada “do you know typing work?” I said yes Swami. “Naanu dodda kelasa koduthene” (I will give a big job). Then Swami patted my shoulder and gave me Padanamaskar. Later Swami sent word that I should report to Dr. A.N.Safaya, the first Director of SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram at Puttaparthi.
I met Dr. Safaya on 6th November 1991. In the evening, during the Darshan, Swami saw me and said “Oh you have come, very happy”. Once I got settled in my new job, Swami Himself chose a bride and got me married.
The great lesson I learnt from Bhagawan is to serve without any trace of ego or expectations. The most important teachings of Swami which have impressed me are “LOVE ALL SERVE ALL and HELP EVER AND HURT NEVER”. That is how we can be close to Bhagawan and in turn He will be close to us.
Swami may not be there physically with us now, but He is always watching over us. The only thing we need to do is to think of Him and He will respond. “Don't worry I will take care" He says .. and so He does.
Love in action
BY SSSIHMS Team
Happy again: The little Aamir with Mahmood during their follow up visit. They both wanted Swami's hospital to be in the background for the photo, though it was almost mid-day and the Sun was blazing down.
" This country has had so many rajas, maharajas, big people with so many resources, but no body could do what baba has done for the humanity"
He had been so happy to get his daughter married. As a father it was the happiest day of his life. He remembered the bright henna on his daughter’s palms, the neighbourhood lost in fun and frolic and the beaming countenance of the handsome young man Altaf, his daughter Nausheen was getting married to. For a few years it went perfectly, the couple had a lovely son Aamir and when they came visiting him, even his dingy home felt like heaven. He remembered that during that visit he had reclined on his creaky arm chair, his heart filled with contentment. He could not have been happier.
In the same arm chair he now lay with his heart broken into a million pieces. It was as if the tsunamis of tragedies crashing against his fragile heart would never stop. “That wretched day,” Mahmood muttered loudly. Then suddenly he stirred from his reverie to check whether little Aamir had by chance woken up due to his muttering. It was late evening, and tired from the return travel from Bangalore, nine-year-old Aamir lay fast asleep on the blotchy bed. Mahmood’s eyes as usual were drawn to Aamir's wound on the left foot, and the wizened old man with a long grey beard could not stop himself. He wept.
* * *
Mahmood had worked as a driver with the state road transport corporation and resided at Palamaneru, a small town of Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh. Now retired from job, he was a man of modest means, but put his heart into whatever he did. He was past 60 and had managed to get his son and his daughter married and pretty well too. But then his life came a full circle.
One day he had just returned home after visiting a friend when his cheap cell phone rang. It was Nausheen. Amid sobs, she informed him that a vehicular accident had claimed Altaf's life. Mahmood's paradise lay destroyed. Soon after the mood of the in-laws changed and Nausheen had suddenly become an alien in the household. Mahmood, a man of strong will, could not allow his daughter to suffer every day. He may have had to eat a bit less and may have had to work a bit harder, it may have been a small home already housing four inhabitants, yet it did not matter. And the decision was made. One day Mahmood went to his in-laws place, packed up all of Nausheen’s and her son Aamir's belongings, put them in the truck and got them back to his home. Life somehow pulled on.
Aamir and Mahmood were inseparable. One day after returning from play, Aamir showed his grand dad, a small wound he had sustained on the sole of his left foot. It was strange that even with the wound Aamir would not feel any pain. But after a few days, Mahmood noticed that the wound had grown in size, and yet Aamir did not complain of any pain. Mahamood took Aamir to the local doctor. The doctor told that the wound had got infected and applied some lotion and put a dressing on the wound. But it did not seem to work. The local doctor then suggested that they see a specialist in Tirupathi. Mahmood carried the boy to several hospitals in Tirupathi, but no one could do much. One hospital performed a surgery, but it had no effect. Finally one doctor suggested that he should take the boy to Bangalore. Soon Mahmood and Aamir were in Bangalore. They went to all the top hospitals. At one hospital, they did some dressing, when it did not bring about any change, they refused to do anything further. Other hospitals said nothing much could be done and amputation of the little boy’s foot was the only solution. And doctors in one hospital even said that even after amputation the child may die. “I spent lakhs of rupees on the little boy’s treatment.“ Mahmood later said.
In the end Mahmood returned to his village with empty pockets, a heart ache and and non-healing wound on Aamir’s left foot. "I left everything to Allah. I told Allah, the role of dava (medicine) is over now and only your Dua (blessings) will work”, he later told us.
* * *
“Chacha you are back, so did you go to the Sri Sathya Sai Hospital,” Sakina, a girl from Mahmood’s neighbourhood woke up Mahmood from his slumber.
“No child, I just returned from Bangalore and they have told that Aamir’s foot needs to be amputated”, Mahmood replied.
Sakina cringed. “What rubbish you are talking. Did you go to Sri Sathya Sai Hospital or not?”, she demanded
“ No child, not yet.”
“And you are telling me these stories. What did I tell you earlier. My uncle had a similar problem, he went all over searching for treatment and doctors could not do anything. He went to Sri Sathya Sai Hospital and his foot healed perfectly.” Sakina said.
“Ok I will do that, “ Mahmood replied more out of resignation. Mahmood, Aamir and Nausheen made their way to Puttaparthi. A strong lady, Aamir's mother Nausheen knew the tumult the family was going through and hoped that eventually it would all end well. It did and in a way only our beloved Bhagawan could have done.
“I saw the hospital for the first time and felt it was a palace not a hospital. Initially I was worried that the treatment here would be expensive, but then we read a board which said, that all treatment is completely free of charge. I felt relieved,” Nausheen said.
They met the Dr. Gurumurthy, from the plastic Surgery department and things started looking up.
“Once we met Dr. Gurumurthy, we felt there is hope for Aamir,” Nausheen said.
“Dr. Gurumurthy told us it was a difficult case, but it could be done, but would require patience,” his words sounded like balm on my heart,” Mahmood said. “And we did not have to pay anything, treatment at the Sri Sathya Sai Baba hospital was completely free of charge." he added. The treatment began and in Mahmood’s words, it was done in a way he could have never imagined. “ The blood circulation in the left foot had been destroyed, so Dr. Gurumurthy attached the left sole to the lower part of the right leg and Aamir had to keep it like that for a few weeks. The little boy endured. And the results are here for everybody to see,” he said.
According to Dr. Gurumurthy the child was suffering from a congenital neurological condition, in which he did not have the sensation on the left leg. In such cases the patients would not feel pain even if there is a wound on the area. According to Dr. Gurumurthy in Aamir’s case it was a non-healing ulcer. “ So we took a flap of skin from the right leg, then it was attached to the left leg and then the left leg was connected to the right leg and division of the pedicle was done so as to get the circulation back. It took a few weeks, but eventually the ulcer healed,” Dr. Gurumurthy said. “ Aamir would be required to wear specially made shoes so that his left leg gets adequate comfort and would avoid any future injury,” he added.
Before discharge Mahmood’s face was beaming and so was Aamir’s . I had gone to many hospitals. All of them were doctors. But none of them had the heart that the doctors here had. That set me thinking about what the difference between this hospital and other hospitals. Then I understood. Here God’s Grace flows through the doctors because there is no money involved and they are only concerned about the well-being of the patient. Outside, it is only about money. That is the difference”, Mahmood said.
Aamir’s foot has healed perfectly and with a specialized footwear, he would be back to being a happy and a healthy child again. “In this country we have had great rajas, maharajas, big people with lots of means and resources, but nobody could do what Baba has done for the humanity. We are greatly indebted to Him,” Mahmood said.
till MAY 2018
Inauguration of the Ophthalmology Department: Bhagawan Baba inaugurated the Ophthalmology department at the SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram in November 1994. As mentioned earlier we would bring to you an hitherto unseen photograph of Bhagawan Baba in the hospital in this section in every issue.
VISITORS TO THE HOSPITAL
From the other side of the World: Mr.Francisco Fiores (Brother-in-law of President of Venezuela, Second from right) along with his family members on his visit to SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram.
Spirituality has no borders: Swami Atmashraddhananda of the Ramakrishna Order from Belur Math visited the SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, in the second week of June, 2018. He had been invited to speak during the Summer course organised by the SSSIHL, Prasanthi Nilayam.
SEVADAL VOLUNTEERS FOR may-june, 2018
Sevadal from West Bengal and Odisha served in the hospital during the month of May 2018.
Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand sevadal served in the hospital during first half of June 2018
Gujarat sevadal served in the hospital during the second half of June 2018
BASIC LIFE SUPPORT SEMINAR
The SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram in collaboration with the Sri Sathya Sai Airport organised a workshop on basic life support at the hospital during the last week of May 2018. Here the HoD of Anaesthesia, Dr. Rajan Anand demonstrates the CPR method to the audience.
The workshop was attended by around 50 staff members from the Prasanthi Nilayam Ashram and 50 Puttaparthi Urban police personnel.
Group Captain Mehta of the Sri Sathya Sai Airport addressing the workshop delegates and emphasised the need to follow the emergency protocols and the upkeep of the emergency equipment.
Blood Tranfusion Officer, SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram, Dr. Sai Kiran speaking about handling medical emergencies at workplace.
MONSOON COLOURS at SSSIHMS, prasanthigram
After getting scorched in the heat of May, Puttparthi breaths a sigh of relief the moment June arrives. Monsoon clouds are here. Ahoy!
Heavy rain provided the much needed relief to Puttaparthi from the Summer heat, which touched 42 degree Celsius (108 Degree F) this time around.
The hospital campus spread across 100 acres is a paradise for many plant species. Here the lily in full bloom
The Ixora Coccinesia, in full bloom, refreshed by the rain