Mindful Medicine At India’s Free Specialty Hospitals

Have you ever experienced medicine without the attached negativity of hospitals out to make money? The unfortunate truth today is that hospitals are designed as businesses first and life-saving entities second. In a recent visit to India, I learn of a pair of hospitals that are doing the impossible – providing top quality healthcare for free to anyone across the world! Yes, such a thing truly does exist.

The Sri Sathya Sai Super Specialty Hospital in Bangalore is set across a wonderful area of 52 acres and the atmosphere here is akin to that of a temple. Here patients are greeted instead of being funneled into waiting areas. In the place of fulltime nurses and staff, there exists an elaborate labyrinth of volunteers who come to the hospital because they wish to indulge in selfless service or the spirit of seva.

The hospital is based on the virtues of Sri Sathya Sai Baba and naturally medicine here does not coincide with profit motives. As a patient, you aren’t expected to pay anything for the services offered other than basic costs. It is only natural to presume that the hospital operates on a shoestring budget that dwindles over time but that would be far from the truth. This hospital manages to keep itself afloat and what’s more the funds grow slowly and steadily without compromising any activity of the hospital as a whole.

This hospital was established back in 2001 and since then become a leader in fields of cardio-thoracic surgery, cardiology, neurology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, plastic surgery, urology and gastroenterology. Moreover, in 2015 this hospital had a 0.87% mortality rate having conducted nearly 20,720 neurology and 46,535 cardiology procedures. This is astonishing on a global standard and when you combine the mindful attitude of the staff plus the low costs – it truly sets a marker for the world.

How The Hospital Survives

First off, during its inception the Trust fund in place amounted to USD $55 million through donations and charity received from institutions and individuals the world over. Since then the corpus has no fundraising inputs but still grows steadily through donations and charitable contributions. In order to ensure proper usage of the funds, the policies of the hospital are different.

First, for a patient to stay in the hospital, it must be absolutely necessary. Instead of forcing patients to stay after procedures for profits, they only keep you as long as you need vigilance. Most are discharged after 24 hours and allowed to recover at home with regular telephonic and skype conversations with the staff at the hospital!

Ultimately it is the guiding principle of the hospital that has helped it garner myth status. “Love All, Serve All” – as Sathya Sai Baba spoke to all his followers is what the hospital practices in every aspect of its functioning.

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