This is a story about a set of twins born prematurely who were spared because of an incubator we received. I know that we had looked forward to the container reaching Chennai (Madras) and each day we waited for the news.
As soon as the news came, I flew down to Chennai with a laptop and started working on all the customs officers. I had a PowerPoint presentation of the hospital and tried my hardest to work with them to tell them that these are their brothers and sisters who would benefit by what they would receive.
It was only about 8 days later that I actually reached to where the container was and it was opened for inspection.
I was touched by the boxes inside them. Some of them had written on them “Packed with love from Tom” or other names and comments which showed the care in which they were sent. This I think touched the customs man greatly.
I know each day I would email George asking for documents and he would keep sending me these which I would print out. The apprehension was intense. I would leave the room at 8 in the morning and returned at 7 in the evening and gave him an update of what was happening. I was amazed that he never complained but faithfully helped each day to make everything possible.
It was in the evening of the 12th day that they eventually released the consignment and let it through. They had just about had enough of a doctor who was so persistent and not willing to let go.
I was so excited and immediately arranged for five Indian trucks and helped to unload the trucks. We worked all night unloading and packing the trucks. We finished the work at 5:30 in the morning and I threw my suitcase in the last truck and started the 1200 mile trip back to Mungeli. I was there with them in the truck as we were stopped along each state border and police check posts who wanted bribes to let us pass. They were confronted with a doctor instead of a driver and the situation changed quickly as gates opened one after the other. I was not about to let anything happen on the way.
It was about 40 hours later that we pulled into the hospital and the chapel bell rang collecting all the staff and community to unload the shipment.
It was in the evening of that day that a lady came in with a premature rupture of membranes and a foot prolapsed. We examined her and found out that she had twins and they were premature, but needed to come out as the first one already had a foot out. We took her to the delivery table and delivered the first baby and then the second.
The nurses did the cord care for the babies and then they were put under the lamp that we had to keep them warm.
As the trucks were being unloaded, I saw the infant warmer with the phototherapy unit being unloaded. We immediately cleaned up the machine and shifted it into the small room that we use as a nursery.
I immediately called for a transformer to be brought from our house as it is a 110 volt machine and needed a big transformer that we had brought from the States. Immediately the machine kicked in when we connected it.
The babies were immediately shifted into it and as they were premature and very small, they were being fed with naso-gastric tubes and put on IV fluids till they were stabilized.
We had the twins with us for about a month before they gained weight and were able to be taken care of by their mother.
The family and the community was amazed as to how we were able to save these small little babies with what little we had. It surely was the beginning of showing the community that with a little hard work and faith, there is so much that we can do.
The same picture of the junior doctor, Dr. Sonal Lal along with Sapna Dan the nurse is what you see with the two babies in the incubator.
Anil works with the Synodical Board of Health Services of the Church of North India. He serves as Acting Director at Christian Hospital, Mungeli along with his wife as Senior Medical Officer.