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Pulling back from the brink...

Basanti (name changed) is a 35 year old woman who was brought to the Asha Kiran Hospital casualty by her husband. It looked like she had self-harmed by taking a powerful poison, and we did not have much hope for her. Basanti is from a tiny village of only 12 families, and has three children, the youngest of which is still being breast-fed. She is also looking after the son of her husband's brother whose mother had died.

When her husband found out that Basanti had taken poison, he had to get on a motor-cycle and drive 25 kms to the nearest place where he could get a jeep to bring her to Asha Kiran. The village does not have mobile coverage and so her coming to the hospital was gravely delayed.

So when Basanti arrived at Asha Kiran Hospital it seemed that she had arrived too late. She was deeply unconscious with lots of secretions and it did not look likely that she would survive. Believing it to be an organophosphate poisoning we started treatment and prayers. Her breathing was so shallow that we had to intubate her. Our simple ventilator was not working so we began bagging. This is a technique of manually assisting in breathing. The bagging was done continuously for Mrs. Basanti around the clock by Asha Kiran Staff.

Slowly her sensorium improved and she regained consciousness. Basanti was able to breathe spontaneously but her effort was not enough to maintain saturation. She was then moved to the bipap machine which meant that we did not have to keep running round-the-clock bagging teams (huge thanks to everyone who volunteered!).

One of our medical officers commented that in her experience of working at other hospitals, a case like this would just be left to die. But that she saw again how precious life is by the hard work of the whole team (and the volunteers who worked round to clock to keep Basanti alive).

The next step was to get Mrs. Basanti to be weaned off assisted breathing completely! That was a great day when it happened and strengthen our belief that she was going to be able to pull through after all. We were so glad to see the tangible outcome of all the prayers and hard work that so many have put in on behalf of Mrs. Basanti.

And then there is the final step (from the hospital point of view at least): discharge.

At Asha Kiran Hospital, we pray and work hard that every person coming in will be able to go home well. Sadly, we do not always see this happen. There are days when despite the best efforts of the medical team, we hear the mourning song of ladies, signing their sorrow that their loved one has died in our hospital.

But no such song was sung for Mrs. Basanti, because she walked out of the hospital with her husband early this month, very much alive.

The bill for all the treatment (to say nothing of the volunteer hours given) came to a significant amount, but we waived off the bulk of it since we know what the family can afford. Its an on-going choice we make at Asha Kiran Hospital - to trust that the Lord will provide when our patients can't. And though we do go through financial challenges, we are grateful to be able to trust in Him to continue His faithfulness to us.

Our hospital counsellor went and visited the family last week in the distant village they live in. Basanti and her husband welcomed the team with open arms. The husband said he was at a loss for words for how much concession that we gave, which gave an opportunity to share about how much Jesus loves each one of us. A staff member who had been one of the volunteers to 'bag' Basanti, was then given an opportunity to pray with the family in a special way.

Will you continue to pray for Mrs. Basanti and her husband? She is out of the hospital, and will still need many areas of grace in her life and in the life of her family. Please pray not only for full physical healing and for her strength to return, but also for relational and emotional healing.

Each person is so precious. Each family is such an opportunity to shape a destiny. This family has gone through challenging times, and the Asha Kiran family has been privileged to walk along with them. Pray that they will flourish and be a blessing to all those around them as well in the coming years.

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