118-year-old Mission Hospital faces setback, Kashmir.
The John Bishop Hospital is located in the town of Anantnag, around 64kms from Srinagar, the biggest city in Kashmir, India. In 1888 Mrs. Isabella Bird, the widow of Dr John Bishop met DrFanny Butler, while she was visiting Srinagar. Dr Fanny was a woman doctor from England and was working among the women in that area without any kind of health facility. Mrs Isabella Bird then generously made provisions for a small hospital to be built in memory of her late husband. Unfortunately, a few years later, the hospital was destroyed by a flood. In 1902 the hospital was reconstructed and is now an institution of the CNI- Amritsar Diocese.
In 1997, when Kashmir was disturbed by militancy, Dr Sarah arrived and took over as the Medical Superintendent. During that time, the hospital was in dire need of doctors and were struggling to provide the community with basic medical needs. It is because of the sincere devotion and commitment of DrSarah and many other staff; the John Bishop Memorial Hospital is now a valuable asset to the people of Anantnag.
Recently, the John Bishop Memorial Hospital was singled out by government authorities to convert it into a covid-19 wellness centre for Covid-19 positive pregnant women. This decision was made without consulting the hospital staff and was made known to them the day after the staff received reports of 10 amongst them being tested Covid-19 positive. Find below a prayer request from Dr Sarah and a Persecution Relief interview with Bro. Prabhakar, the PRO of the John Bishop Memorial Hospital.
A prayer request from Dr Sarah, Anantnag, Kashmir.
We covet your prayers for our team and our hospital in Anantnag.
All this has started with a notice from District Collector, Anantnag asking all private hospital staff should be tested and hospitals to be closed until the results arrive.
So, on 2 June our 35 staff, including Kashmiri staff members were tested along with other private hospital staff, 65 members.
The results were declared at midnight on 6 June. Shockingly, the results of 10 of our staff found to be positive and there were none from the other hospitals. People are raising suspicion about this. God only knows the truth!
Total 5 of us, including 2 sisters, 2 brothers and me and 5 Kashmiri staff were positive. It was shocking to us. But by God’s grace we do not have any symptoms till date.
And by 7:30 on the next morning, we have received phone calls asking us to be ready to go to isolation centre. By 9:30 they came and said now 10 of you were positive so we want to make your hospital as covid-19 welfare centre for one month. It is the second shocking news.
They said we have to render our services to covid-19 positive pregnant ladies for their delivery. It is another shocking news.
They are asking our covid-19 negative staff to serve those patients. By God’s grace they were willing to serve those needy women. This is another concern for us.
Now my greatest concern is not my health but about our hospital which is in Govt hands now.
I request all of you to pray for the following points:
1. As they said they should hand it over after one month with out any extension.
2. Our staff who are willing to serve should not turn positive.
3. Our everyday prayers in the ward should not be stopped.
4. If any one of us will develop symptoms it may cause apprehension in all of us.
5. When they test us the next time, we all should get negative report. They should not interfere in reporting in order to control our hospital.
My heart felt gratitude to all of you who are praying for us without ceasing.
Counting on your prayers.
A Persecution Relief interview with Bro. Prabhakar, the PRO of the John Bishop Memorial Hospital.
Bro. Prabhakar, can you give us a brief about the incident?
Recently, our facility was screened for Covid-19. We were surprised to receive our test results on the night of 13-06-2020 and find out that amongst 10 other hospitals in the vicinity, ours was the only hospital which results showed 10 positive cases. I was also amongst those who tested positive but by God’s grace, none of us showed any symptoms whatsoever.
On Sunday morning we received a call from the Deputy Commissioner saying that the government required their facility to convert it into a Covid-19 wellness centre for covid-19 positive pregnant women. This news came as a shock to us as we wondered how the hospital would function with 10 of us including the Director-Sarah testing positive and kept under quarantine. How are we supposed to attend to our patients when we ourselves were tested positive?
The DC then sent a letter through some of the senior doctors in the department saying that he is using the Disaster management Act 5, and will be taking over our hospital and transforming it into a wellness centre for covid-19 positive pregnant women. This news quickly spread on media as well.
We are ever willing to serve but this decision was completely one sided. We have many concerns that we would like to address to him but he is not willing to listen to us. At present we are altogether 53 people who live in the hospital compound that comprise of 17 families and 20 children of which the youngest is a 4-week-old baby. Dr Sara came to Kashmir in 1996. She came here when no one was willing because of the militancy and redeveloped it from scratch, but without even asking or requesting her, the authorities are using the Disaster Management Act and taking over the hospital. It would have been a different case if the authorities had to call us to discuss whether or not they could accommodate Covid-19 patients in our Hospital.
Have you made a complaint regarding this case?
This was very sudden for us. The DC suddenly took over our hospital without giving us any valid reason. Moreover, he has only verbally promised to give us the hospital back after one month. We don’t want to go against the government in any way hence we have chosen to pray about this situation instead of taking the issue up with higher authorities.
At the end of the day, we see a lot of good in the Deputy Commissioner. He was also born in our hospital. So, we are trusting God to work on our behalf. The authorities can choose any other facility. There are so many hospitals, sub-centres and primary health centres which they can convert into Covid-19 wellness centres.
What would you like to say to our listeners?
We would like you to pray for us. The authorities have completely taken over our OPD and converted it into a doctor’s room. The baby clinic has been stopped. We have so many expectant mothers who have registered with us and come for regular check-ups, where will they go? Our hospital is 118 years old; we are well known for the service and treatment we provide. We would like the authorities to smoothly exit and choose a more suitable facility to work with.
As Christians, we have to adhere to the orders of the Government authorities because that is what the Bible teaches us. It is God who fights our battles. The Bible says in Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?
On the 16th of June 2020, Bro.Prabhakar informed Persecution Relief that the results of their 2nd Covid-19 test of all the staff came back negative. He has thanked all those who prayed for them. All Glory to God!
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