Providing Hope And Healing To Heart Patients

Providing Hope And Healing To Heart Patients
Dr Michael Nobel, chairman of the Appeal of the Peace Prize Laureats Foundation, had said, ‘I have never seen anything like this on earth. It is a wonderful feeling, far removed from the national healthcare in the West, which does not seem to work very well. The impressive thing about the hospital created by Bhagwan Sathya Sai Baba is the combination of the three aspects: state-of-the-art technology, free medical treatment and the healing powers of his presence instilling in the patient the firm belief that he or she will get well.’

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences’ super-specialty hospital in Whitefield, near Bangalore, offers free heart surgeries to people from all walks of life. Till date this hospital has conducted nearly four lakh surgeries, according to hospital staffers, who point out that there is no billing counter here.

The hospital’s mission is to ‘provide high quality medical care absolutely on a no cost basis to all irrespective of caste, creed, religion, and financial status in an overall spiritual environment which recognises the patient as a human being and not as a diseased entity’.

Each and every patient receives the same treatment
The hospital is situated on a sprawling 53-acre complex. A large number of patients, young and old, rich and poor, get their heart problems treated free of cost. Some treatments would cost Rs 4 lakh in other medical facilities.

Y Arvind, manager of public relations at the Sri Sathya Sai Baba Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, says that the list of patients is endless. ‘We have patients throughout the day and I must tell you that we are proud of our waiting list. We meet every patient and we never promise what we cannot deliver. But we only deliver the best here. The doctors meet and evaluate each and every patient who comes here. The cases are taken up for treatment depending on their urgency,’ he added.

Every patient receives the same treatment here, free-of-cost. ‘The idea is that each patient is at the same level and if you do not pay for your treatment, then everyone is on par,’ explains Arvind proudly.

The hospital runs on donations from various philanthropists and devotees
The hospital is equipped with a fully automated information system which takes care of the patient data. The hospital also maintains a manual record of the data.

The super specialty hospital, with a built up area of 3,54,000 sq feet, houses 333 beds, eight operation theatres, six intensive care units, two cardiac cath labs and a 24-hour emergency unit. This state-of-the-art hospital, with a dedicated team of expert doctors, is also remarkable due to its Indo-Saracenic architecture and magnificent gardens.

How does the hospital dispense free medical treatment to so many patients? All the funds for the hospital come from the medical trust, which in turn receives the money in the form of donations from various philanthropists and devotees of Sathya Sai Baba. Arvind explains that on an average, the hospital authorities spend Rs 50 lakh a month on surgeries, treatment, maintenance cost and staff salary.

Not medical counseling, but patient counseling
‘We are able to manage this thanks to resource optimisation. For example, we don’t waste paper. It is compulsory for anyone using a note to use both sides of it and not throw it away after writing on only one side,’ Arvind explained.

The doctors have been instructed not to conduct medical counseling, but to conduct patient counseling for every patient. The doctors draw up an emotional profile of the patient to figure out the route of his emotional imbalance. This understanding helps the doctors in keeping their patients calm, and studies have proven that a calm mind helps heal a patient better.

Sri Sathya Sai Baba‘s first initiatives in the field of medical care began with the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Prasanthi Nilayam, which was inaugurated on October 4, 1956 as a 12-bed facility for serving the poor in Puttaparthi and the surrounding villages.

Free healthcare to all patients
The initiative was aimed at giving free healthcare to all the patients seeking treatment at the hospital. Soon, the hospital began to attract patients from all across Anantapur, adjoining districts and other states. Over the years, the SSSGH grew from a single room dispensary to a sizeable general hospital with 90-bed capacity, treating patients suffering from various aliments. The Out Patient Department in the hospital now handles nearly 600 patients daily on an average.

In 1976, a second hospital, Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital, Whitefield was inaugurated by Sri Sathya Sai Baba in Bangalore. He also founded the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust in September 1991, to set up super-specialty hospitals to provide quality medical care to needy patients irrespective of caste, creed and religion.

State-of-the- art medical care
The first venture of the Sri Sathya Sai Medical Trust, towards providing high-tech tertiary medical care, was in the form of the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Puttaparthi in November 1991. The institute provides state-of-the-art tertiary medical care absolutely free of cost to all those who came to its portals. This super specialty hospital treats diseases related to cardiology, urology and ophthalmology.

After the success of the super specialty venture in Andhra Pradesh, the government of Karnataka wanted Baba to start another super specialty hospital in Bangalore and offered 53 acres of land to build a super specialty hospital in its suburbs. The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Bangalore was inaugurated on January 19, 2001.

Rediff News Reference

Sai Baba Temple Is Second Richest In India

Shirdi Sai Baba

Shirdi Sai Baba

Sai Baba Temple Is Second Richest In India

Kopargaon, Jan 09: The famous Shirdi Sai Baba shrine in Maharashtra has become the second richest in the country in terms of income after the Balaji temple in Tirupati, trustees said on Friday.

The temple has collected Rs 81 crore in cash, 920 kgs of gold and 440 kgs of silver in the form of donations during 2008, creating a record, Ashok Khambekar, a trustee of Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, said.

The temple also collected a record amount of close to Rs four crore and fifteen lakh in its cash donation box between December 29, 2008 and January six, 2009, Khambekar said.

During 2007, about 104 kgs of gold, 235 kgs of silver and Rs 60 crore in cash was received by the temple through donations, he said.

The trust, which was formed in 1992, has an annual budget of Rs 200 crore which is used for development works such as construction of hospitals, new buildings and roads in and around Shirdi, Khambekar said adding a super speciality hospital and a ‘prasadalaya’ (dining hall) had already been constructed.

Bureau Report


Resolving Doubts – A Day At The Super Speciality Hospital Puttaparthi

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Resolving Doubts – A day At The Super Speciality Hospital Puttaparthi

Sathya Sai Baba has repeatedly asked us not to indulge in or listen to rumours, and yet it is sometimes difficult to avoid doing so. The secret obviously is to take no notice of the content however ‘believable’ the rumour may seem, until proved correct. Normally I adhere to this principle as much as is humanly possible, but I actually weakened momentarily when someone happened to mention that they had heard from a ‘most reliable source’ that the medical treatment in the Super Speciality Hospital was, in fact, not up to scratch.

I later discovered that this information came from a magazine noted for its negative stance. However at the time I was susceptible enough to accept that this was a possibility, due to my own incredulous state. I had visited Prasanthi Nilayam many times since 1986, and had been over to the Super Speciality Hospital in 1991. Overawed at its beautiful atmosphere then; I wondered whether the medical treatment would after nine long years, still match the pristine grandeur of the Hospital.

In July this year, my wife and I were in Prasanthi Nilayam for one month and the thoughts of the Hospital were nagging at me from time to time. A few days before we were due to leave I felt a sudden desire to find out the facts for myself and contacted Dr. Safaya, the director of the S.S. Hospital and made an appointment to see him: this turned out to be the day before we were leaving.

Dr. Safaya asked me what it was I wanted exactly. I explained that there was talk in the western media that the conditions in the S.S. Hospital were substandard; and I should like to see for myself if it was true.

Dr. Safaya called in his Head of Security, a Dr. Barkuni, who has a practice in Delhi and like many in the Sai Organisation gives his time freely for several weeks every year, and directed him to take me wherever I wished to go in the Hospital and to answer any questions I may ask. And so commenced what I can only describe as a V.I.P. tour which could only have been bettered by a visit from Swami Himself. I spent the whole day at the hospital going into general wards, intensive care wards, the kitchen and maintenance areas.

I was capped and gowned and permitted by the operating surgeons to enter operating theatres where I witnessed two open-heart operations (without heart-lung machines) at close range. I was even able to converse with the surgeons who explained the symptoms and the techniques. I also watched a mitral valve replacement operation done with breathtaking precision. I saw a cataract operation whilst almost breathing down the shoulder of the operating surgeon, who, even to my untrained eye, was obviously highly skilled despite his apparent youth. Incidentally, there are an average of 12 cataract operations a day carried out in this theatre plus an average of eight laser treatments in the Department of Ophthalmology itself.

In the Department of Cardiology an average of over a thousand heart surgeries are carried out each year. This includes bypass, valve replacement and as well as pacemaker implantations. Over 1900 patients are admitted into this department each year.

Like all major hospitals through out the world, the S.S. Hospital caters for every medical need. It incredibly has the lowest mortality and infection rate of any hospital in the world; in fact, an area such as Puttaparthi where dust and germs seem to find such an easy footing, infection in the Hospital is almost unheard of. The Hospital gleams with cleanliness and there is a wonderful air of calmness and efficiency, which is quite inspiring. The intensive care wards (like the operating theatres) are all air-conditioned, and have the latest electronic equipment installed from bedsides to central control. The wards are well staffed by competent nurses and there is a doctor on call at all times.

I was introduced to the Heads of all Departments, including : Dr. Sunil in charge of the Anesthesia Section; Dr. Sara Pawan, an anesthetist, who spends his time between the General Hospital and the S. S. Hospital; Dr. K. Prasad of the Catheter Laboratory section and Dr. K. Bhat who although officially retired, still gives all of his time giving lectures and advice whenever needed, and his wife, the senior microbiologist at S. S. H.

They were all happy and enthusiastic about their work and their dedication was obvious when speaking to them.

It was all the more refreshing to me as I had gone to the Hospital with mixed emotions, and, to be honest, was somewhat apprehensive that there might be some truth in what I had heard. Not so. I was, if anything, even more impressed than I had been nine years before.

I moved on to the Department of Engineering and Maintenance and was introduced to its Head Mr. K. Viswanathan, who is an electronics engineer and is responsible for maintaining all the electronic equipment thoughout the Hospital. He explained some of the ancillary equipment needed for the smooth running of the Hospital including enormous generators-such as the latest Swiss 180KVA model, so efficient that should the mains power suddenly drop out at any moment, it will immediately ensure an uninterrupted continuation of power, especially vital when operations are in progress. In addition there are 2 ´ 260KV and 1 ´ 100KV and 1 ´ 500KV generators for different areas in the Hospital in case of power failures.

Although the General Hospital at Puttaparthi screens all patients before they are sent on to the S.S.H., a typical day sees an average of 150 of the more serious cases being treated at the S.S.H. Some of them come from as far as Nepal, such has the fame of this hospital spread.

In addition there is a demineralisation plant, which supplies absolutely pure water to the operating theatres. An incinerator which takes solid waste to convert it into gaseous products and pass into another chamber where the temperature is over 10000 C rendering it safe to be passed into the atmosphere. There is a needle separator and disposal unit: in fact every piece of equipment needed to ensure that this ‘quite isolated’ Hospital has every thing needed to be totally self-sufficient. There appeared to be no shortage of any medical equipment in the theatres or wards.

The prevailing ambience whenever I went in the hospital was one of tranquility and love. It is no wonder that patients heal so quickly in this vibration. Swami has often said that more love at the bedside results in faster recovery. It is certainly true in this Hospital where love is shown through efficient care and encouraging words, everywhere.

In conclusion, I can only say how grateful I am to have been given this wonderful opportunity to experience this most remarkable Hospital and at the same time to dispel any doubt I might have had.

Raymond Lindsay


Does your heart skip a beat?

Does your heart skip a beat?
Aruna Chandaraju

For most of us, the heart beats maintains a steady rhythm thanks to an inbuilt electrical conduction system or natural pacemaker…

For most of us, the heart beats maintains a steady rhythm thanks to an inbuilt electrical conduction system or natural pacemaker. An irregularity in this natural rhythm is called arrhythmia. Stress or anxiety can cause alteration, so, the heart might skip a beat once in a while resulting in a mild palpitation or flutter, but it largely maintains a consistent rhythm through our life.

However, millions have a serious defect in this electrical conduction system, resulting in recurrent arrhythmias. Their heart beats too slow (bradycardia) or too fast (tachycardia), or so irregularly that it sometimes stops beating altogether resulting in Sudden Cardiac Death (SDC). Fortunately, there is a way to save the person by anticipating this. A pager-sized device called Implanatable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) when implanted under the skin monitors heart rate, and performs two functions: 1) cardioversion where the too-fast or too-slow rhythm is corrected and made normal; 2) defibrillation where the heart which has stopped beating is given a shock to revive it, get it out of the cardiac arrest and back to beating normally. Dr Upinder Kaul, Director, Cardiology, Fortis Group of Hospitals, New Delhi, explains:

“Any patient who, four weeks after a heart attack, has a left ventricular ejection fraction of less than 40 percent is a possible candidate for SCD. There are other categories with poor heart function with documented ventricular tachycardia, syncope, and many other indications in primary electrical disorders of the heart.”

No access.
There are lakhs of Indians with this problem. Yet, while thousands of implants are needed every year, only a few hundred are able to access the treatment. As Dr Kaul reveals: “Approximately 350 ICD implants are done every year in India. The number of people needing it is very large––about 50,000 per year at a conservative estimate.”

What accounts for this large gap? A major factor is the cost. As Dr P K Dash, Head, Cardiology, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Bangalore, points out, these little lifesavers cost between Rs four lakh to eight lakh each depending on the brand. Besides, there’s the cost of implant and hospital stay which adds up to another lakh or two depending on the hospital. In a country like ours where millions live below the poverty line and where percapita income is low compared to developed countries in Europe or USA, the treatment becomes largely unaffordable, except to a few of those who need it. Also, the reach of medical insurance is not as widespread in India as in developed countries, adds Dr K S Rastogi, Mumbai-based cardiologist.

Complicating this cost factor in India, is the fact that many of the candidates for ICDs are senior citizens who are dependent on others for medical care.

Sometimes, there is a humanitarian initiative that makes this affordable. For eg, last month, eight dual-chamber ICDs were implanted within five days––an Indian medical record––and totally free of cost, at the charitable Sri Sathya Sai Institute in poor, by visiting US-based cardiac specialists.

However, this is a rare phenomenon. So, what’s the solution? Dr Kaul opines: “Continuing medical education programmes for physicians As well the production of low-cost shock devices.”


Multi-speciality hospital to be set-up in Navi Mumbai

Multi-speciality hospital to be set-up in Navi Mumbai
Saturday, May 12, 2007 15:35 IST

MUMBAI: A 250-bed multi-speciality hospital will be set up at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai by the Shri Satya Sai Trust (aka ‘Sri Sathya Sai Baba Central Trust’), where services will be rendered totally free to all patients, the Trust has said.

The hospital will be established on a 50-acres plot offered to the Trust by the state through the City Industrial and Development Corporation (CIDCO), media in charge of the Trust Sudhir Joshi said.

The hospital will be built with state-of-the-art technology and focus on ecommercialisation of medicine while dwelling on globalisation as well as spiritualisation of medicine.

Also, it will act as the nucleus for an integrated rural mobile medicare facility to cater to the rural areas of the state with a large network of mobile dispensaries.

The hospital will also have an attached nursing college and a Mother and Child Care Centre at Wada Taluka in Thane district for supporting destitute mothers and children.

The hospital will also undertake a programme for supporting malnourished children.