Witch-hunt of “Christian Fellowship hospital”, Chhattisgarh
Persecution Relief Reporter
God placed a burden on the heart of Dr. P. A. Abraham, who had been a freedom fighter and also a part of the Quit India Movement. In 1953, he took a decision, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to serve the people who are poor, downtrodden living in extremely difficult conditions. He started the “Christian Fellowship hospital” at Rajnandgaon, Chhattisgarh, which is a 100-bed general hospital. Today, the hospital is being run by the Founder’s son, Dr. Thomas Abraham and his wife Dr. Asha Thomas.
The patients who frequent this hospital are mostly from the rural pockets of Rajnandgaon, Durg and Balod districts. To help with the commute, commercial vehicles hired by the hospital, to transport them from the interior villages to the hospital.
Nearly 40 cataract surgeries are performed every single day with 100% success, over 10 years, said Dr. Asha Thomas, who heads the community-based eye services at the Hospital.
Recently, on February 23rd to 25th, a total of 45 operations were performed by two surgeons in two sessions. Post-operation, the patients were examined by two senior surgeons and no evidence of infection was found.
On February 26th, two patients, operated on February 23rd, reported to the hospital complaining of infection in their eyes. Subsequently, the hospital authorities decided to call all the 45 patients from nearly 7/8 districts. Out of 45 patients, 38 came back. The rest had good vision. The 38 were kept for observation, at different wards. Later, they were sent for ‘retina surgery vitrectomy’ to Raipur at Dr. Sumit Malhotra’s Hospital, which is a Specialty Hospital. However, some patients had blurred vision, burning eyes, diminished vision etc. and couple of them lost their vision in the eye which was operated upon.
Dr. Thomas Abraham was out of station during this incident. When he returned on the 28th February, he met with Dr. Sumit to enquire on the condition of the patients. Subsequently, sensing some Cluster Infection, Dr. Thomas called the State Nodal officer, CHO & Deputy Director Health, Dr. Subash Mishra and briefed them about the whole incident. In the meantime, the media picked up the story and started publishing all kinds of bigoted and biased news , speculating and sensationalizing the incident, besides falsely accusing Dr. Thomas & Dr. Asha of indulging in conversion activities.
So far, the exact cause of Cluster Infection has not been identified, in spite of the team doing a thorough check of the Operation Theater, the equipment’s used etc.
The crisis was aggravated when on 7th March, Dr. Asha got a call from her sister in-law stating that there was a “dharna” being held, in front of the Collectors Office. Information that this protesting mob were scheduled to pass by Dr. Asha’s home to teach her a lesson was communicated. This whole episode took on a communal colour. Allegations and accusations that Dr. Asha was involved in conversion activities and that the gospel was being shared with every patient who visited the hospital, have also started doing the rounds.
Speaking to Persecution Relief, Dr. Asha said that as disciples of Jesus Christ, their conscience was clear. The sole purpose and motivation of dedicating their lives to the service of the poor and needy, was to provide relief and health to the patients, to eradicate disease, especially for those who could not afford expensive treatments. This endeavour was not to make money she emphasized.
It is apparent that this is a concerted effort by fundamentalists to malign this reputed Christian Hospital. The ‘Eye Surgery Theatre” that was used to serve the poor communities, has been shut down, as they are not allowed to practice freely, because of the interference in decision making and hospital autonomy from external, forces.
The poor and the downtrodden population face a humanitarian crisis. Finding an alternate ‘eye hospital’ providing, free surgery, medicine, caring Doctors, friendly staff and transport, will be the hardest challenge.
In the recent past, we have seen consistent attacks on Christian Institutions – Colleges, Schools, Orphanages, Old Age Homes etc. 100’s of such Organisations have been shut down. Now, Christian Hospitals seems next on the radar.
The Bible commands – “Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble” -: Psalm 41:1
Dr. Thomas, MD (Medicine), Director Community Based Eye Services, Christian Fellowship Hospital, Rajnandgaon (CG), speaking to Founder, Bro. Shibu Thomas, solicited earnest prayer for the Mission Hospital, the Management, and his family, who have invested their whole lives in the service of humanity through this hospital. Pray that they would learn to completely depend upon this Great God.
Pray that all patients who have lost their vision, would have their sight restored by Jesus Christ, just as He healed blind Bartimaeus – completely and totally, physically and spiritually, with His miraculous healing touch. Pray for divine wisdom and discernment for the Hospital Management team as they wait upon the Lord for the future course of EYE care services. Pray that all tests and reports awaited to establish cause of infection would find no violations against the hospital. Pray that there would be no lawsuits or settlement claims filed by the patients against this indigenous missionary society. Pray that the Operation Theater that has been shut down will be opened and fully operational once again, and would continue to give relief to 1000’s of poor people, in Jesus’ name.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?” – Rom. 8: 31
2018 Persecution Relief News
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