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BLS Training for paraglideru

The Lady Willingdon hospital provided BLS training for paragliders on 12th June 2019. Lorna Sandison, a final year med student from the UK, organised this, including running half a marathon to procure mannequins for this training. Thanks Lorna! 

We hope through these sessions to train paragliders and taxi drivers in this region equipping them to handle BLS for any emergencies for which they are the usual first responders. 

Adieu to Dr. Dennis, Sharel and family

Dr. Dennis, our orthopedic surgeon, Sharel physiotherapy and community health will leave us to go to mission hospital Mungeli. We bid them an emotional bon voyage on 12th June 2019. 

Dennis first came to us as a medical student, and Manali saw him grow into consultancy, marriage and welcomed his children. They will always be part of us, and we wish them well as they embark on a new venture. 

Nurses Week Celebration at LWH May 2019

In commemoration of the Nurses Week, the nurses of Lady Willingdon Hospital, Manali have decided to raise public awareness about Tuberculosis.

Even though there has been considerable progress in the last decade, TB is an infectious killer world-wide and the drug resistant TB poses a major threat.

Today the nurses performed street plays in the town in an effort to raise awareness against TB. They will be going to all the schools in Manali to perform skits and talk to the Teachers and Children about how the disease can be prevented and treated thus giving them knowledge about accessing the right treatment, at the right time.

Introduction by Sis Prabhjyot Nursing In Charge of LWH

LWH Team at Mall Road

At the starting point

Believer hospital students in Manali

We welcomed the medical students from Believers Hospital in Kerala to our hospital where they performed their elective posting. Thank you for coming. They were led by faculty Dr. Ashvin and Dr. Karuna. 

 

 

 

 

 

Leopard attack

Manali village folk are not strangers to animal attacks. We have had patients mauled by bears before, though the frequency has been decreasing. Yesterday, we received a 69 year old gentleman who was attacked by a leopard near the old manali bridge. Leopards prowl the forests but rarely descend to human habitation unless they are desperate for food. The predator had come to include some dog meat into his diet. He attacked the elderly man. The man himself was no stranger to forests, having spent his life as a shepherd and jungle forager. Other companions fled, leaving him grappling with the beast. He had the presence of mind to catch the cat by the throat and push him off, though the beast had the mans head in his mouth. He further had the presence of mind to play “dead”. The beast did not fancy human meat on his menu, and so wandered off. 

The man was brought to us with his left eyelid ripped off, frontozygomatic fracture, multiple scalp lacerations and a chunk taken out of his left upper arm. We were able to fix him up and reconstruct his left upper eyelid, while listening to the story of the mans bravery and past exploits. Thankfully his eyeball was intact, though the conjuctiva was torn. 

The leopard was later tranquilised and carted off to safer hunting grounds in Palampur by the forestry department. 

Man and beast stood their procedures well. 

Kudos to the brave heart of Old Manali. Any lesser man would probably have been cremated by the evening. 

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Rural surgery

Ms. X was a young lady who presented to us with altered sensorium after a fall.  She was arousable but not responding  relevantly and there was a difference between the size of her pupils. A ct showed a huge extradural hematoma pushing the midline across to the other side. This is a life threatening condition and needs immediate surgical attention. 

Today in any city she would be referred to a neurosurgical centre. The centres in most cities are in large tertiary hospitals, mostly corporate in nature. Government facilities that handle cases of this nature are in capital cities. Most district hospitals will refer to state capitals. This will invariably mean further travel, time , and money, all scarce resources that further jeopardise the chances of survival. 

What does a doctor in a rural hospital confronted with this situation do? 

The breadth of the art and science of basic surgical training has departed from the curriculum of the general surgeon today, abdicated to the genre of specialist surgeons. Not that the specialist surgeons do not have elective rights over such surgeries, but I enter my plea that general surgeons also need to be equipped with skills and science to handle such situations on emergent grounds. 

We were able to evacuate this hematoma. There was a sagittal sinus bleed which was controlled with difficulty. The lady left us with no residual deficit. While I write this, I testify to what I call the “G factor”, which operates in situations where we have no one else to turn to. In my fifteen years of work in this place, I testify to the healing that comes from God. This operant factor may get displaced into the wings by “advancement” and technology, but in their  absence occupies centrestage. 

What does rural India need to handle such emergencies? Referral is an abdication and a wilful death sentence inscribed with every stroke. I am not a neurosurgeon, but I was trained at Christian Medical College Ludhiana to handle such emergencies. Are our young surgeons of today being similarly equipped or denied the skill under the guise of a sacrosanct speciality? 

What do we do as faculty to equip our surgeons for the rural patients of tomorrow? 

 

Let it snow!

Manali received a foot of snow overnight two nights ago, and there is prediction of more to come. So keep warm everyone, the snow is finally here! 

Surgical camp in Pangi

SURGICAL CAMP IN PANGI 2018

Killad in Pangi, Chamba district is one of the most remote regions in Himachal. Hidden behind formidable mountain ranges, accessible only by one hazardous road carved into rock face four hundred feet above a precipitous gorge cut by the  Chandrabagha river, it is a full day journey from Manali. Our team was to leave for Pangi on the morning of the 15thSeptember. The entire team of doctors slowly assembled on 14thSeptember. Dr. Joel, anesthetist from Baptist hospital Bangalore, Dr. Hansdak, eye surgeon from Pondicherry, Dr. Anand Prajapati, radiologist from CMC Vellore, Dr. Annie Prasanti, Obstetrician from CMC Vellore, with her husband Dr. Anand, also an anesthetist. Dr. Annie brought along Joshua her 17 month son, and her father in law. The eye team members were old hands from CMC Ludhiana, Dr. Amrit, Santhokh Singh and Anil, participants of prior camps. Roads into Manali were a challenge, four laning work delaying arrivals as heavy equipment and machinery clawed and tore up the hillsides, carving the ambition of a highway through an already perilous path.

Consequently, our team this time was a large one. 29 people all told, were packed into two travelers, one bolero and a pick up groaning with all our equipment. Anesthesia machine, operating microscope, slit lamp, generator, lights, cautery, suction machines and all medicines that we needed to conduct safe surgery in a wilderness had to be transported. This journey normally takes two days but this time we pushed through in one, a tribute to the border roads organization. We settled into accommodations and had all of Sunday to set up our workspace in the civil hospital Killad.

The old hospital, our earlier venue,  is an ancient dungeon like wood and stone structure that has succumbed to the ravages of time. This year we were presented with a spanking new hospital with tiled floors, large spacious well lit wards and new furniture which was a rare treat. The operation theatre area however, was uncomfortably near the entrance, and had no provison for scrubbing or cleaning and preparation of instruments! Finding a space for eye surgery was a challenge. It is a travesty to realise that so much public money would go into a spanking new building, only to omit essential functional aspects that compromise patient care. The labor room, for example was an oversight, and has been entirely omitted from the building!

Our camp started with a prayer on the morning of the 17th. Huge numbers of patients had to be herded into lines that snaked through the doctors rooms, laboratory and the ultrasound room, and then back to the doctors rooms. The ultrasound machine is always a fascination, people coming with a core belief that this box  held the answers to all their problems. Patients with headaches and joint pains remained convinced that a wave of the probe would fix their ailments, or yield clues to the causes of their disease. We saw over one thousand one hundred patients in five days, performed four hundred ultrasounds, and were able to get routine lab tests and xrays done.

This camp was refreshingly different from past experience. Earlier patients viewed us with suspicion and those who needed surgery subjected themselves to the procedures with a sense of impending doom. This time they had come well prepared for surgery, bringing with them bedding, old reports and were admitted most willingly, an index of the trust our team has now gained with the populace. Surgeries started up on the morning of the 18th. Over the next four days, we performed thirty major surgeries, nine minors, 21 eye surgeries, which averages to about ten surgeries a day. Most of these were done under spinal anesthesia but there was also need to administer general anesthesia. Our surgical teams functioned like smoothly oiled machines, safe, efficient and fast, making sure every patient received a high standard of safety and care. All of us felt and experienced the presence of Jesus, in the operating room. There were no complications or untoward incidents, and all the patients were cared for in the new wards by our super nurses.

The people of Pangi by nature are reticent and suspicious of good outcomes. Neglect, ill treatment, and death a frequent companion of disease, has caused them to expect the worst. Post operative days were primarily spent encouraging them to resume normal activities and convincing them to return home healed and well! Their smiles as they finally turned to go home were unforgettable as we reassured them that God had healed them!

Our camp finished on the 23rdSunday.  That was when all hell broke loose in Himachal. An intense high pressure zone camouflaged the entire lesser Himalayas and unleashed unceasing rain for the next three days. In Pangi, it snowed, much to the delight of the South Indians. We were ill prepared for snow as our thin shoes and jackets soaked. We lost electricity, connectivity and for the next three days, were unable to move out of our accommodations other than to make rounds and visit our patients in a similar predicament. All approach roads were cut off with landslides and landslips. Landslides are not an uncommon event in Himachal. Roads that are blocked are usually opened within a day or two by the Border Roads organization. Not this time. Reports of havoc happening in Manali were trickling in, as we heard of roads and bridges swept away by floods. By the third day we realized that we were not about to get out of Killad anytime soon. All roads were essentially impassable and we were trapped.

There followed intense negotiations by Dr. Bishan, our team leader, for helicopter evacuation. In improbable situations, we saw the hand of God organize our evacuation. The Assistant commissioner for all the roads in Himachal happened to be staying in the same guest house we were occupying. He promised safe passage for our visiting doctors via Kishtawar. Fortuitously we found a force traveler, and they left Killad on the 27th. They were to still experience more adventure as that road also closed in on them requiring them to walk across the landslide to resume their journey. The rest of our team however was still sitting pretty in Killad.

We spent the next two days vainly looking up at the sky for the promised helicopters. Finally, our saviours from the sky did descend in the form of two IAF helicopters which ferried our seventeen members out  to Chamba over two days. From Chamba we made our way back to Manali via back ways, since the highway to Manali was washed out.  Our drivers brought the vehicles out via Kishtawar. Eventually by Sunday, all our team members were safely at their homes.

This was a camp to remember for all of us, a tremendous testimony to the lordship of our God, working out every detail for us in the midst of a natural disaster. Everything got done. Everyone returned safe. Every life was impacted, both the served, and those serving.  We are forever grateful.

 

Online donation portal

Now you can support us by contributing directly via an online portal. All donations are tax exempt in India. 

We are very grateful for your support and help which permits us to continue to provide the care we do by allowing us to purchase new equipment and capital costs. We are able to meet all our running expenditure and give away thirty percent of our income as charity, which makes us dependent on donations for all new project. 

Thank you for your love for the people of Manali and beyond.

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The LWH team.