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Sri Sathya Sai 80th year of Advent

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Sri Sathya Sai 80th year of Advent

Healing with Love and Compassion

Seen above of the Super Speciality Hospital in Puttaparthi and the Hospital in Bangalore The former was declared open by Prime Minister Narasimha Rao in November 1991, while the later was inaugurated by the Prime Minister Vajpayee in 2001. Everyone who comes to these Hospitals be it for consultation, checkup or surgery, is treated completely free. There are no charges at all, for consultation, diagnosis, surgery, medicines, post-operative stay in the Hospital and for food. No distinction is made about caste, creed, race and religion. For thousands of poor people, from Kashmir to Kanayakumari, this Hospital is a dream come true.

One of the great ironies of modern times is that even as medical science moves forward by leaps and bounds, the percentage of people who can afford good health care is constantly decreasing. Especially in India, we have the strange situation of people coming from abroad for advanced treatment and yet, rural India that feeds the entire country, does not have access even to primitive medical facilities.

In 1954, Baba took the first step in demonstrating how this imbalance could be addressed in a novel way, by establishing a small free General Hospital in Puttaparthi, which was a boon to a number of villages in that area. In November 1990, Baba made an electrifying announcement during his birthday celebrations. He said that exactly a year from that date, a Super Speciality Hospital would start functioning in Puttaparthi, and offer FREE treatment to all who came. Few believed the announcement, but what seemed impossible, did happen. In 2001, Baba established another Super Speciality hospital, this time in Bangalore.

There is no other private charitable hospital in India, and possibly in the world too, that has offered tertiary health care to tens of thousands on the scale these Baba's Hospitals have. Not merely that; the patients who come for treatment are transformed, even as the doctors serving there are.

The Trusts founded by Baba, manage the University and the Hospitals, besides executing the various drinking water projects. No funds are solicited, and there is no fund-raising campaign either. In fact, in the Hospitals there is no cash counter nor is there any notice about Baba's charitable Trusts. However, such is the power of Love, people spontaneously come forward from all over the world to contribute, proving that in the depth of the human Heart there is always Love, which is not surprising because the Heart is the seat of God.

Some statistics from the Puttaparthi Hospital, from 1991 to 31st October 2005
Cardiac Catheterisations 15,947
Cardiac Surgery 15,142
Urilogy Surgery 27,660
Opthalmology Surgery 27,091

Some statistics from the Bangalore Hospital, from 2001 to 31st October 2005
Neuro Surgery 5,271
Cardiac Surgery 5,873
Neuro Catheterisations 711
Opthalmology Surgery 27,091

DR. IYER, Senior Cardiologist in the Puttaparthi Hospital

Within a month of my joining, that is, in 1992, a man from Warrangal came along with his 13 year-old daughter. The girl had a hole in the heart, and was admitted for surgery. This man was dressed like Gandhiji, wearing an upper cloth and a dhothi that came up to half the knee.

The girl was operated the next day. By Swami's Grace she had an uneventful recovery, and was ready to be discharged. When we handed over the discharge summary to the father, he started weeping. I asked him, "Now what is the problem?" He says that for the last 13 days, he had been subsisting on one banana for lunch and one banana for dinner. He was saving money so that after his daughter got discharged, he could have a at least one full meal with her, before going home.

This is but one incident; there are thousands like this.

Dr. Mitch Krucoff, eminent Cardiologist, Duke University, North Carolina, USA

There is an atmosphere of joy amongst the staff of this Hospital, as they do their work. When we first went over to India, we thought were going to this poor third world nation and share with them our technologies, teaching them how to use it properly. Honestly stated, this was a very arrogant start. Later, it turned out that we learnt more than we taught.

Baba's physical presence is able to contribute a real sense of presence of God. You can imagine a hospital for Christians where Jesus physically walked around.

Dr. Michael Nobel, great grand nephew of Alfred Nobel, chairman, Appeal of Nobel Peace Laureates Foundation.

The world's hospitals are filled with expensive and advanced medical technology. It is also easy to find free hospitals. But the combination of the two, of a super speciality, highly advanced, state-of-the-art hospital which is free for the poor - that is a unique, completely unique concept. And if we add to that Sai Baba's presence, and the spirituality which his presence lends to the hospital, it becomes a very unique creation. I know hospitals very well, but I have never seen anything like this on earth.

Health care is one of the major problem facing humanity today. People say Baba's experiment cannot be replicated. That is not true. However, replication calls for unlimited Love and total selflessness. If man can go the moon and beyond, surely he can come to the aid of the needy. But there must be an inner urge and determination, both of which spring from Prema.

Baba's Super Speciality Hospital in Bangalore has a Neuro and a Cardiac Department. Normally patients come with either a neuro or a cardiac problem, and they go to the concerned department for treatment. Ever heard of a neuro patient who needed help from a cardiac surgeon? That is what happened when a poor farmer from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu went to Baba's Hospital in Bangalore. One day, this farmer suddenly could not see. When the doctors examined him, they found that the onset of blindness was due to a giant aneurysm (a huge enlargement of one of the arteries) in the brain. The aneurysm was not only large but also squeezing the optic and various other vital nerves. The giant aneurysm could not be operated on in the usual manner - it was just too big for that. That was when the neuro surgeons got together with cardiac surgeons. It was then decided that the patient would undergo neurosurgery with synergetic support from cardiac surgery. In brief, the cardiac surgeons created a state of low blood flow using a technique called hyphothermia. What it meant was that they opened the heart and diverted the blood through a heart-lung machine. Simultaneously, the body was cooled to 18OC. In this condition, the brain can survive without oxygen for about 20-30 minutes. That is the time window available for the neuro surgeon to fix the aneurysm problem. This complex surgery was a marathon affair that lasted over nine hours. By Baba's Grace it was entirely successful. About half a dozen such surgeries have been performed thus far.

Sri Sathya Sai 80th year of Advent
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