Click here - Photo from 1897 and contemporary photos
“In the year 1897, the plague began to rage in Bangalore, after having ravaged several parts of India. When camps had been organized in which to receive those afflicted by the scourge, the Sisters of St. Martha's offered themselves to the Bishop to go and nurse them; the civil authorities accepted the offer, but there the matter ended. However, one day, the Religious went and tried to visit the camp established at Pettah... Mother Mary of St. Hyacinth presented herself with a local Sister and said, “Could we see some of the patients..?”
“Do you know that I have orders not to let anybody enter, as the disease is very contagious?” the guard of the isolation camp said sternly.
“We have come from St. Martha's Hospital...no disease frightens us !”, replied the Sister. “Very well”, said the guard.
“If you go in, you will have to remain.” “Most willingly!” came the fearless answer.
Amazed at such a reply, the guard went to inquire who this person was and what was to be done, and returned, saying, “Oh! I beg your Reverence's pardon - I did not know you! Yes, you may enter, and as often as you desire, only take care to disinfect yourselves.”
Extract: Annals of the Mother Mary Peter Coudenhove – the 2nd Superior General of the Congregation of Our Lady Of Charity of the Good Shepherd (of Angers) II Vol. ( pages 144-145)
Walking in the footsteps of its pioneers, Sr. Gracy Thomas (Local Leader – St. Martha’s Hospital community) and her team, roll up their sleeves at St. Martha’s Hospital, the Congregation’s only hospital, and dare to look into the eye of the beast, that is: COVID-19 and say,’No More!’ Our Sisters together with the Partners-in-Mission, Hospital Management and Staff, take up the challenge head-on to meet the needs of the city of Bangalore, in this present crisis. Again, Bangalore calls and we respond!
St. Martha’s Hospital, is not only a healing ministry, but also is residence to many Doctors, Nurses, Paramedical staff and Technicians, including migrant workers that work at various construction sites on campus. The community of St. Martha’s Hospital also houses many senior sisters with their own co-morbidities that fall in the vulnerable category, susceptible to the deadly virus plaguing the world at this time.
How is St. Martha’s Hospital (established1886) gearing up to work in stride with other hospitals in the city to tackle COVID-19?
In-house COVID-19 taskforce was established to work with the government and dynamically upgrade hospital protocols as new data emerges from the Health department. The taskforce also ensured vigorous training for all concerned staff members.
Educational Posters and Digital information is put up for awareness of patients and visitors.
24x7 Fever Clinic was set up with state-of-the-art screening procedures for all visitors to the hospital. The clinic checked basic parameters and screened patients based on their residence and chances of exposure.
Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) were procured for staff use round-the-clock.
Special Isolation ward was set up with number of beds, including ICU with ventilators, in case patient’s condition worsens.
Every staff member was trained in proper hand washing, importance of social distancing and information regarding home quarantine and importance of the lockdown and ways to make the country’s precautionary lockdown more effective.
Interim vehicle passes for easy passage of all outsourced vendors in the campus to ensure uninterrupted supply of food, security services, housekeeping etc at the hospital.
Sisters are available 24x7 to handle any emergencies and support the staff members in critical decision making.
Capacity building for hospital ambulance drivers on careful transport of all potential COVID-19 cases.
Visual cues for social distancing marked in the hospital campus.
Screening at the entrance of all outpatients by frontline staff to avoid possible contamination of Outpatient doctors, front office staff and other patients.
Despite the lockdown, critical services of the hospital like security, housekeeping, maintenance etc were maintained. Meals and resting areas were provided for those staff members who could not go home because of the lockdown.
Smart downsizing of departments into rotational mirco-teams were encouraged to promote containment of exposure.
The NSS group of St. Martha’s Hospital College of Nursing organized an informative health talk and food packet distribution to most deserving poor families.
Isolation of all senior sisters in the community with room-side meal service.
Two trained Nursing aids made available for the sisters care.
Staff that had to travel very far were housed on the campus.
Sisters that were exposed to hospital patients kept themselves isolated from senior sisters in community.
130 families were given rations of Rice, three varieties of pulses, wheat flour and oil to sustain them during these difficult times.
St. Martha’s Hospital Community, Bangalore