The story of a 53-year-old lady who finally found medical redemption at SSSIHMS, after visiting many hospitals over three years in Palakkad, Kerala. Today she refuses to believe that a hospital like SSSIHMS exists, and believes it is God’s Miracle that brought her here.
For a family where the father works in a cycle shop, and the son is a driver, with a combined monthly income of Rs.20,000 (US$340), the thought of a life-saving surgery that will cost them Rs.3.5 lakhs (US$6000) can be hugely daunting. It indeed was, for this family, when a doctor in one of the reputed government hospitals told her that she needed surgery ‘as soon as possible’.
PM regularly went to a small hospital close to her home to check her blood pressure and sugar levels. She was under treatment to keep both in check. During one such visit the doctor did an ECG and told her there were some ‘changes’. At first she could not understand the impact of the ‘changes’, but readily complied with the doctor’s prescriptions and advice. After a month of taking medicines PM returned to the doctor to see if the ‘changes’ were now normal. But the doctor advised her to continue the medicines.
She did not read much into this advice, and continued with her usual routine of visiting her aged mother who lived close enough to walk across. It was during one such visits along with her relative that she suddenly felt very tired and started gasping for breath. Though she could not surmise what her breathlessness was due to she realized that she needed to be taken to the hospital immediately. With the help of the relative she rushed to a leading government hospital in Palakkad, Kerala, which was fully equipped to deal with all emergencies. The doctor who examined her told her that her heart was too weak and needed to be operated upon ‘as soon as possible’.
“You need a pacemaker. It will cost you three and a half lakh rupees,” he told the stunned lady. The family was shattered because they did not have that kind of money, and could not turn to anyone for help.
Amidst all this one little detail had escaped the family. The lady was a regular visitor to K Homeo Distributors, a reputed homeopathy clinic for her BP and sugar medicines. It was here that she always saw a photograph of a person with a halo of curly hair, to whom the owner of the homeo clinic regularly prayed. The homeo clinic was popularly known as the Sai clinic because of the photograph if Sri Sathya Sai Baba adorning the walls.
When they were helplessly wondering what to do, and how to raise the money for her treatment, a relative of theirs who lived in Bengaluru advised them to come to Bengaluru and visit Sathya Sai Hospital and avail free treatment. “Free treatment?” they asked in disbelief. This was the first time they were actually hearing of a place like this. Their first reaction was one of contempt; places that offer free treatment were shabby and lacked proper facilities and resources. But the doctor’s words ‘as soon as possible’ kept ringing in her, and the patient wanted to get herself treated as soon as possible.
Though initially they hesitated, they thought ‘why not travel to SSSIHMS and see what they offered’, and decided to travel to Bengaluru. PM also feared that she was losing time. They reached SSSIHMS on Feb 1, and was examined by the doctors thoroughly. After detailed evaluation the patient was advised to come on March 18, for admission and surgery. The doctors at the hospital decided that she would benefit from the highest model of Pacemaker with Defibrillation called CRTD which would normally cost around Rs8.5lacs ($12000). She could hardly believe what she saw and experienced. Yes, there was no money charged for any of the services! The CRTD implantation was done on March 21, with support from Boston scientificInc. USA, and the patient was discharged on March 23 in a stable condition.
Today, the patient is extremely happy that providence brought her to this miraculous place of healing. PM’s son too is satisfied with the treatment, but more than that all of them are pleased with the way everyone at SSSIHMS took care of the patient.
Though she prays and feels that everybody should be hale and healthy, and none should get such ailments, she says that he will send anyone who needs such treatment to SSSIHMS. Her son sums it up emotionally: “My mother has got a new lease of life; it is rebirth for her.”
(As told to and written by Mrs. Sheela Sai Prasad)
Note to the Reader:
In a normal human being the pumping efficiency of the heart is around 70% but in these cases it could range from 5% to 30%. These devices increase the pumping efficiency of the heart removing all the associated problems due to low pumping efficiency. Sometimes in these patients the heart will beat between 150 to 250 times per minute (normal is around 70 times per minute) and need to be schocked to bring it back to normal. The device contains a battery which does this exactly.