Volume 8 - Issue 05
MAY 2010
Other Articles

CHARMING LITTLE PRAMOD SPARKLES AGAIN!



On November 22, 1990 Bhagavan Baba announced to the world that a super specialty hospital offering tertiary care at absolutely no charge to the patients would be inaugurated the next year. Many dismissed the idea as too good to be true.

Next November, the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram, will celebrate its twentieth anniversary. Millions still remain ignorant about this magnificent mansion of healing and the wide range of specialty services it offers daily to hundreds faced with despair and hopelessness.

Till now H2H has brought you profiles of patients cured here largely from heart ailments and bone deformities. This issue explores a patient file from the Department of Urology.

Jyothi and Mahadevappa’s precious eight-month old baby was diagnosed with a severe and almost fatal malady. No hospital in the economically prosperous city of Bangalore would accept the little patient as he required a complicated surgery – one which his father, a construction worker of meager means could not afford.

Without even a hint of fanfare, how did the Sai healthcare system intervene and achieve the unthinkable? Let’s find out...  


Mahadevappa was a picture of misery when a doctor in Mysore told him that his little son, all but three months old, needed a surgery. A cherubic baby, Pramod was truly the light of his mother Jyothi’s and father Mahadevappa’s life. Unfortunately, their happiness was short-lived.

Destiny’s Ill-fated Twist – A Distressing Diagnosis

 
 
Mahadevappa and Jyothi with their darling Pramod sleeping blissfully in the middle; they hail from rural Karnataka

“For the first three months after birth, my child was healthy, but after that he developed fever,” the father recalled in his mother tongue Kannada. Sorrow enveloped his face thoroughly as he continued, “We noticed a swelling in his crotch area; he had great difficulty in passing urine. We took him to a local doctor who prescribed a few medicines but the fever never came down. We then went to a bigger hospital where after doing a few x-rays and scans the doctors concluded that my tiny one needed a surgery.

"However, they asked us to go to Bangalore and confirm their diagnosis in another medical facility. So we traveled to the big city and the doctors there not only said that surgery is a must but also detected another serious anomaly: Pramod had only one kidney. Sadly, this lone unit too had a problem in its functioning. They said, ‘We can correct this with an operation’ but the amount needed was beyond our means.”

“Every morning was agonizing. Worried of the next day we never slept peacefully any day. The tremendous pain that Pramod underwent while answering nature’s call was too much for us to endure day after day. His cries would break our heart!” said the father recalling those horrific days. As a mother, Jyothi’s ordeal was in fact most heartrending. “I do not remember sleeping or eating during that period; our attention was on him constantly. We were really tired and stressed out. The hospital in Bangalore offered to do the surgery, but we did not have that much money. We did not know where to go, what to do?”

Even if Mahadevappa sold the small property he had, he wasn’t sure if he would be able to pay for the surgery. Rs. 20,000 (approximately US $ 425) is what the doctors said would be the minimum expense. Explaining his economic difficulty, he said: “I work as a daily wage labourer in construction sites in Nalamdana halli, a village in the Mysore district. We are poor; I have no farm land. How could I arrange for the money required for the surgery?” It was the darkest period in the life of Mahadevappa. To add to their despair, with each passing day, Pramod’s condition only got worse.

It was only gloom and despair when Jyothi's only son Pramod
was diagnosed with a chronic ailment

“Every morning was agonizing. Worried of the next day we never slept peacefully any day. The tremendous pain that Pramod underwent while answering nature’s call was too much for us to endure day after day. His cries would break our heart!” said the father recalling those horrific days. As a mother, Jyothi’s ordeal was in fact most heartrending. “I do not remember sleeping or eating during that period; our attention was on him constantly. We were really tired and stressed out. The hospital in Bangalore offered to do the surgery, but we did not have that much money. We did not know where to go, what to do?”

“I was amazed when I saw this hospital for the first time. It is like the Mysore palace, so grand and palatial! I was filled with happiness when I stepped into this magnificent building and at that moment itself I determined that come what may, I will get my son operated only in this hospital.”

Enter Sai Healthcare System and with it Relief and Hope 

 
Mahadevappa did not believe that any hospital in this world could provide treatment completely free but when he stepped into SSSIHMS, Prasanthigram he was stunned!
 

It was at this point that a friend of Mahadevappa introduced him to a volunteer of Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation. “The sevadal person told me that the treatment in this hospital is completely free of cost. I could not believe it. But that person was very confident.

"We had no other option and were desperate. So we decided to give this a try as we had nothing left to lose. But when the others in our village came to know of our plans they mocked at us; they said we were too gullible to believe that a hospital in the present times would do surgeries without any charge.”

Despite the cynicism and discouragement, the desolate parents decided to take the leap of faith. In August 2009 along with the sevadal who convinced them about this trip, the young family travelled to Puttaparthi.

 

The Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences, Prasanthigram


 
 
For this sweet gift of God, Mahadevappa and Jyothi underwent any amount of trauma and pain

And the moment they landed in Puttaparthi and saw the hospital, the father was awe-struck. “I was amazed when I saw this hospital for the first time. It is like the Mysore palace, so grand and palatial! I was filled with happiness when I stepped into this magnificent building and at that moment itself I determined that come what may, I will get my son operated only in this hospital.”

Jyothi, the baby’s mother, however was filled with fear because she has rarely seen a big city and the unfamiliarity was disconcerting. “I was very afraid,” she recalls, “because we did not understand Telugu. It was a big hospital and we did not know anybody there.

"However, when we met the doctor we were so relieved! He spoke to us in our native tongue Kannada; he was in fact a boon. He instilled so much confidence in us. We knew we are safe.”

The doctors in Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Medical Sciences carried out all the necessary scans and x-rays to examine Pramod thoroughly. The little one definitely needed surgery but he was too young to be operated upon. Therefore, they planned to perform the procedure after three months; for the time being they prescribed a syrup to be fed daily. The doctors also shared a phone number to reach them incase the parents felt the need to do so.

 
"The doctors here are so nice" - Jyothi
 
The parents share their heartrending story...

The syrup did work and the baby’s pain was highly mitigated, however as the three-month period ended, Pramod started crying again. Mahadevappa called the doctors and on their advice brought his son to Puttaparthi again.

Complex but Successful Operation

This journey however was a difficult one because enroute, the baby started vomiting and also developed diarrhoea. As a result, upon arrival, they were referred to the Sri Sathya Sai General Hospital where they stayed four days till Pramod was completely cured of those problems. They were discharged on November 20, 2009, after which they went to SSSIHMS. Three days later was the big day in their lives – a date they are unlikely to ever forget. On November 23, the sacred date of the hospital’s founder Bhagavan Baba’s birthday, the surgeons operated upon the 8-month old baby Pramod.

The operation was far more complex than similar surgeries done earlier.

 
The dedicated doctors from the Department of Urology
who operated on Pramod
 
"It was a rare and challenging case" - Dr. Prashant Kulkarni

The intravenous urogram in which an image of the affected area is seen showed a highly twisted and convoluted obstructed ureter emerging from the single functioning kidney of Pramod. The ureter's job is to carry the urine from the kidney and drain it into the urinary bladder; while the urethra is another tube which takes the urine from the urinary bladder to outside of the body.

In Pramod's case, the warped and tangled ureter, rather than draining into the urinary bladder, was emptying lower down in the urethra and this tube was swollen and thick because of an obstruction.

 
Radio Sai team in the Department of Urology
 

“I was slightly apprehensive about this case because the baby has a single functioning kidney,” said Dr. Sai Shekhar, one of the doctors who operated upon Pramod. “If anything goes wrong even in a minor way and it adversely affects the solitary kidney, we could be in serious trouble. Also the tissues below the ureter which we operated on are extremely gentle and delicate, so definitely it was a challenging task.”

The main problem with Pramod was that he had left-sided congenital hernia (testicular swelling) and also his only functioning kidney had a block. As Dr. Prashant Kulkarni explained, “The ureter (urine draining tube) emerging from the single kidney had an obstacle, medically this is called an obstructed ectopic ureter. Because of this, the urine did not drain into the urinary bladder. We decided to correct this as well as the hernia at the same time; this was needed given the peculiarity and criticality of his illness.”

What the Surgeons Actually Did

The surgeons' job was now to uncoil the tangle, dissect it free and then direct the correct ureter to the bladder. This process was an arduous one, as Dr. Sai Shekhar elucidated, “We needed to be extremely careful about the blood supply of the ureter as the blood vessels that run on the surface of the ureter are as fine as cotton threads. And these had to be preserved in any case, else there was the grave risk of kidney failure. Also we were required to make the ureter as thin as it is in a normal person so that it doesn’t have any residual urine as excess fluid collection could lead to infection.”

 
Dr. Sai Shekhar explains clearly the complications
of Pramod's malady
 
"The ureter drained lower down the urethra and this tube was swollen and thick because of an obstruction"

When the surgeons cut open Pramod's lower abdomen for the operation, they were surprised to see that the ureter was actually much lower than where the scans had shown. “Not only this,” Dr. Sai Shekhar added, “Pramod’s ureter was almost as big as his bowel. Bringing it down to the size of a pencil which is the normal size for a baby of that age was a gruelling job.”

"Now we will come here every three months not only for check up but also to have Baba’s darshan. I love to see Him. The moment we enter the darshan hall, it feels like heaven. All the tensions just disappear. Ten minutes of being there can refresh one’s mind completely. I feel so free and happy sitting there. Baba cures us all.” 


 
So happy to be a Sai doctor

So, the surgeons, while preserving all the delicate blood vessels, disconnected the ureter from the urethra’s abnormal side, made a new opening in the bladder, lifted the delicate ureter from below and attached it to the bladder. “So it is like reconstructing the whole system. After we did this successfully and we corrected his hernia too,” said Dr. Sai Shekhar.

Two hours of intense medical maneouvering later, an ailing child had a new lease of life. He was shifted to the Urology Intensive Care Unit soon after and the parents were then informed of the success of the procedure. Their joy now knew no bounds, especially after the extreme worry and anxiety they had endured while the procedure was going on.

“Doctors here filled me with courage” – Mahadevappa, the father

pramods_mom

Jyothi and Mahadevappa share their experience of being in SSSIHMS in Kannada

 
Jyothi expressed her gratitude to the hospital
through her moving tears

“I was really tensed,” confessed Mahadevappa, “But it is the doctors who filled me with courage.” His wife, Jyothi, continued, “The doctors here are so good. They always told us that our baby is strong and we should not worry in the least. I do not know how to thank them; without them my baby would not have been alive today. They have given me a healthy child...” Her eyes now overflowed; she could no longer conceal her tears.

The doctors on their part said that it was the Supreme Doctor, Baba, who ensured the success of their efforts. “Honestly, this has been my experience,” said Dr. Sai Shekar and continued, “Here we see a number of patients everyday and we have been able to give all of them good results.

pramod_docs

For these doctors, to serve the poor and the needy in the best manner possible is a passion

The success rate in this hospital is considerably high, and one reason for this is the grace of Swami. We constantly think of Baba and chant His name all the time during any surgery. Also following Swami’s guidance, we always speak to the patients very encouragingly and never give them too much of a downside. They therefore are in a positive frame of mind, and that probably explains to some extent why the complications in this hospital are much less than it would have been anywhere else in the world. Ultimately, it is the magnetic spectrum of His grace.” The doctor signed off with a gentle smile.

The Sublime Sai Effect

 
It is this cheerfulness which keeps Dr. Prashant Kulkarni energised to work 10 hours everyday
 
What a charismatic child,
now blessed by Sai!

Extremely delighted to see his baby smiling again after a long time, Mahadevappa is now filled with joy and gratitude. “It is truly Baba’s grace that our kid has survived. We have stayed in this hospital now for 15 days. We are so happy. Now we will come here every three months not only for check up but also to have Baba’s darshan. I love to see Him. The moment we enter the darshan hall, it feels like heaven. All the tensions just disappear. Ten minutes of being there can refresh one’s mind completely. I feel so free and happy sitting there. Baba cures us all.” 

Pramod, who was sleeping till this moment, slowly stirred and then smiled. The next moment, with a little help from his mother, he stood up and almost posed for a beautiful snap. The vibhuti dot on this tiny forehead shone and his sweet face glowed. The proud father now held him close gently and his face brimming with joy said, “When he grows up, we will give him a good education. He is truly the apple of our eyes.”

Shine in his eyes and spring in his steps, Pramod now is a tiny star sparkling!

An experience that has changed the course of their lives and rewritten the destiny of their son cost the family absolutely nothing but gave them everything they had given up on, thinking they could never have it - a healthy little boy.

Each day, dozens of such families with not even enough resources to travel to these hospitals are receiving everything in abundance … free and loving tertiary healthcare, comforting and counseling, and not to mention, travel expenses, if needed. So detailed and infinite is the compassion of this system’s Founder and Pure Love incarnate that no one ever returns the same, after their tryst with Sai, just like Jyothi and Mahadevappa who returned home with a healthy little Pramod and hearts overflowing with enormous relief and undying gratitude.

For more information about these Hospitals, please visit www.sssmt.org.in

- Heart2Heart Team

Dear Reader, did this article inspire you in any way? Would you like more such stories of patients treated in Baba's hospitals? Please write to us at [email protected] mentioning your name and country.  Thank you for your time.

 
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