We, Ian Schaff and Dr. LaFleur, left Boston on Saturday, August 8th at 10PM and arrived in Dehradun, India on Monday at 9AM. First we rested and then met with Dr. Rai, at his house. Dr. Rai has been promoted from Chief of Anesthesia to Superintendent of Shri Mahant Indiresh Hospital.
It is Tuesday . We met with Lama Tensin at Himalayan Kids Residence/CED Society and discussed government requirements for charities in India.
Penpa Negi , our Tibetan outreach worker and translator has been working hard in the community coordinating our visit. Our first visit is to the Tibetan clinic in Dekyiling Colony. The administrator of the clinic, Dawa is always great to work with. we saw four patients and took one to the hospital. An older woman with Hepatitis B and a mass in her liver. Her daughter went with us. Dr. Varma, Chief Medical Officer of the Hospital, saw her in clinic and then Dr. Gupta continued her work up in GI.
Today is Wednesday. We screened 7 patients at Clement Colony and met Sonam , a nurse who left the hospital to run a business in the colony. Tibetans in India are refugees in India and are not allowed to own land; they build and live on leased land.
In the afternoon we meet with a banker and interviewed our third accountant. We felt he was the best candidate and proceeded with the filing of the MDI Trust in India.
Now is Thursday, we took 7 patients through the chaos of the hospital outpatient system. Monies for services are paid for in advance with cash. Penpa translates and Dr. LaFleur accompanies the patients. We are all flying around in the confusion of attending multiple clinics and paying the bills for the services, i.e., visits , labs, ultrasounds, medications. Ian starts record keeping.
Dr. Rai is always available and we are paired with Mr. Sukla who trouble shoots the cashier for us.
Friday is a national holiday and it is raining again. We started on our way to Rishikesh but as the river started to rise-- really rise! - we turned back fighting the traffic jam . Later we learned that a number of people had died that day due to the floods that even surprised Penpa.
Saturday was spent at the hospital again.
Sunday is a non working day in India. We went out to the country to Visit a B&B to set up a retreat for our last night in Dehradun. Then back to CED to see the Kids
Dr. LaFleur made chocolate pudding for the 24 kids. Ian played with Penpa’s 4 year old daughter and talked with the boys at the orphanage
Monday morning Dr. LaFleur is in the OR (OT) with a child for a dilatation of esophageal stenosis with Dr. Madukhar, the pediatric surgeon.
Two more patients are added to our list in the clinics as 4 from last week return for their results.
Wed. 3 patients admitted to the hospital. Two scheduled for Cataract surgery tomorrow.
Thursday. Dr. LaFleur was In the OT for 2 patients and getting more used to the differences in the OR and with the Anesthesiologist who was really good.
We have 2 patients with Hepatitis B and untreatable liver cancer. The families were presented with their options. We will follow these patients as this is a common problem in the older refugees that come direct from Tibet.
On Friday , one case in OT and then to CA , Bank, and dinner with the participating doctors from the hospital.
Ian has been working hard with Mr.Shukla and is concerned for our new community:
“How can we mobilize people in the U.S.? The answer in my mind is to keep doing what we are doing. So many people fall throughout the “cracks” in India and are not receiving proper healthcare. There are also cultural stigmas regarding illnesses. We have both of these things in the U.S. but not as extreme as in India.” Ian Schaff