My name is Nilesh Goswami and I am a cardiologist in Springfield, Illinois. Recently, I was introduced to an organization called Central India Christian Mission (CICM, https://indiamission.org). The leaders of this mission were interested in providing higher-level cardiac care in their hometown of Damoh, India. Despite my initial skepticism, my wife and I visited their campus to determine the feasibility of this vision.
Damoh is a city located in central India in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The population of this rural city is estimated at 100,000-200,000 people. The surrounding populace however includes several million people. These people have access to two hospitals in Damoh. One hospital is a mission hospital that serves the needs of all comers rich and poor. The leaders of CICM founded this hospital 30 years ago. The building was donated to CICM. Prior to this, it was a stash house for local crime organizations and the building was used to store bootlegged alcohol, illegal drugs and weapons. After renovation and in its current state, the hospital offers general medical care including pediatrics, obstetrics, general surgery and family medicine.
During my visit, I toured this facility and was immediately impressed by the love and compassion this mission and their physicians had for their patients and the people in this region. The hospital does provide ICU care and basic cardiology services, including stress testing and echocardiography. However, if more invasive cardiac testing or therapy is required, such as coronary angiography, stenting or bypass surgery, the patients are transferred to the closest cardiac center, which is seven hours away by car. In cases of a heart attack, these patients have a high risk of death during transport due to the long distance required. As the doctors described the plight of these patients, they were clearly motivated to increase access to cardiac care and deliver this locally to their people. They surprised me by stating they have already broken ground for a new building that will house a cardiac center. The vision will be to deliver cardiac care to Damoh and the surrounding areas locally and avoid the need to transfer patients long distances while critically ill. On the second day of my visit, the hospital arranged a “cardiac camp.” This was a one-day clinic arranged for me to see patients. The following day, I could not believe that more than 400 patients showed up wanting to be seen for their cardiology issues. The need in India to treat this disease is astonishing. Every 33 seconds, someone has a heart attack in India and heart disease is the number one killer in that country. After seeing the altruism in the eyes of the doctors, nurses and CICM leaders in India, I felt compelled to assist this mission and the people of central India. As I departed back to the United States, I truly left a piece of my own heart in Damoh.
Upon my return to Springfield, I was fortunate enough to work with administration at my local hospital to arrange for donation of a cardiac catheterization laboratory (cath lab) for Damoh. A cath lab is a room that can be used to perform coronary angiography and diagnose blockages in the heart arteries. Furthermore, if a severe blockage is identified, the area can be treated with placement of a stent. During a heart attack, this procedure can be lifesaving. This equipment in Damoh has the potential to improve and prolong the lives of thousands of people if not more.
This cath lab was graciously donated by the Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois. The costs associated with shipping this life saving equipment to India and local installation was originally quoted at $50,000. In the past year, as construction requirements and eletrical obstacles have become more clear, we now realize that the need is more in the area of $150,000.
We have partnered with Mission Outreach (http://www.mission-outreach.org) to arrange transport and are asking for your assistance in raising these funds to help us ship and install the cath lab in the mission hospital in Damoh. Furthermore, we are asking for funds to continue to support inventory (balloons, stents and catheters) for the lab and education for the staff.
In the United States, we often take access to healthcare for granted. For instance, in Springfield, Illinois, there are 13 cath labs in this city of 117,000 people. In contrast, there is no cath lab for the millions of people in and around Damoh. Please soften your hearts, so you can help us treat theirs!
Thank you in advance for helping us take this cath lab from the Heart of the Prairie to the Hearts of India.
100% of these funds will be donated for the project. There are no administrative fees or other overhead. Funds above and beyond the $150,000 will be applied towards inventory of the cath lab, maintenance and education for staff/nurses. Funds will be collected through December 2018.