Day 4 in New Delhi, India

Our Rotaplast team has experienced the good fortune to be working in the Sarvodaya Hospital. The administration, under the direction of the Rotarian owner Dr. Rakesh Gupta, has seen that the staff assists us with our every need. The facility is clean, well equipped; and the staff friendly, helpful, and supportive even though we interrupted their normal flow of medical operations.

Sarvodaya means “compassion for everyone” — a fitting name for a hospital.



Families lined up for registration. IMG_6002Dana Morrison entering patients’ medical records. IMG_6076Ted Alex arranging surgical tools for sterilization in the autoclave. IMG_6394
Ted explaining the use of a dingman retractor to Rotary Club President Gaurav Ahuja. IMG_6399

The careful eyes and deft hands of Doctors Ron Gemberling and Gagan Sabharwal. IMG_6342

PACU (Post Anesthesia Care Unit)


These rooms are filled with mixed emotions. For some patients and their parents it is where they anxiously await their scheduled time for surgery. For others it is a place where in recovery they rejoice in the successful outcomes of the operations. IMG_6306

Each patient is given a quilt for warmth and in remembrance of the occasion of their life-changing surgery. The quilts are made by volunteers through Wrap-a-Smile and given to Rotaplast by the Rotary Club of Wells, Maine. IMG_6431

Harmeet was brought in by his parents and grandparents on the second day of registration. His father carried him, a sturdy, huggable, full-bodied boy for a 6 month-old child. His grandfather was much more distant and stood back from the others, probably skeptical that we were providing free medical treatment, maybe thinking that his grandson’s malady was a sign of some past family misdoing, or that there was nothing we really could do to erase this curse. His body language was one of embarrassment and aloofness. We, however, immediately fell in love with Harmeet. IMG_6046
In just short of ninety minutes, Harmeet was out of surgery and in the PACU for recovery. The operation was straight forward and went smoothly. IMG_6242
Upon discharge from the hospital an obvious transformation occurred. It was the once skeptical grandfather who picked up our big little guy from his bed in the ward, held him tightly to his chest and proudly carried him to the stairs, leaving the other family members to trail him as he headed out toward the front lobby of the hospital. This was his grandson! IMG_6455
Before the family left through the exit doors, we came over to shoot post-operation pictures of Harmeet. Dressed in his regal sikh turban and sporting his traditional pure white mustache, his grandfather held Harmeet firmly to his shoulder. He strode up to us in the registration area, reverently bowed to each of us, and then in the western tradition extended his hand to shake ours.  As we responded in kind, we saw him fighting back tears as he whispered in English through a choked voice, “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”