Author Archives: Philip Alexander

Annual day 2019

On the 23rd of November, the Lady Willingdon Hospital celebrated its Annual day with the theme -“In His time”. This marks the 83rd year of the establishment of the hospital and all the staff came together to celebrate, with songs, dances, and skits. All these can be viewed on the Facebook page of the hospital called Manali Mission hospital page, or by following this link (

It truly was a time of thanksgiving, of celebrating God’s work here among us, and also celebrating the joy of working together as a team, made evident by the seamless performances and activities. We also thanked those from the society who had helped us and stood with us in various events of the year. A sumptuous dinner at the end was a fitting finale, with of course dancing and “let your hair down” music. 

We thank God for leading us through another year of service here among the people of Himachal. 



Pangi Pathways

              PANGI PATHWAYS

We first went to Pangi in 2015 when we heard of a remote mountain settlement isolated and bereft of medical care. We have been back every year since. This was our fifth year in succession. I have written about the earlier trips and those travelogues can be accessed by following the reference links below*.


This year was similar in many ways and yet it was so very different in many other ways. Our group of 30 piled into four vehicles and departed at five am from Manali. We made very good time, since the roads this year were very good from Koksar to Udaipur. We reached Pangi by five pm, which was excellent and a tribute to the hard work of the Border roads organization. Accommodations are always a huge issue. This time a sitting sessions judge and his team had taken all of the accommodations at the circuit house, so we were scattered, spread across the other available accommodations in Pangi, including a tent on the lawn of the forest guest house!


The response was overwhelming. We saw 1024 patients over five days. From earlier years, we were viewed with a mixture of suspicion and helplessness. This year, we only experienced trust. Trust that we would do the best for them. Willingness to be subjected to surgery, and glad acquiescence to our suggestions. There were long lines of people, and though they were boisterous in the beginning, we saw them line up and wait patiently, help each other, permit the young and very old to have precedence. We saw them help those who did not have relatives to care for them post operatively. We saw smiles and twinkles in eyes where previously there was a glazed glare hiding true emotions. It was almost as if they were a different people.


Our team comprised of the inspiring Dr. Bishan, Community Consultant, two surgeons from LWH Manali, Anesthetist Dr. Benita, Gynaecologist, Dr. Ratika, Radiologist, Dr. Deepa, from CMC Vellore, and eye team from our ever-helpful CMC Ludhiana, with Dr. Anubhav as the eye surgeon.  We also had a large group of support staff from LWH, lab staff, nurses who would take care of our postop patients, pharmacist, drivers, maintenance, cook and helpers. We brought along with us our entire equipment, including operating lights, anesthesia machine, generator, all our medicines and a huge autoclave, since our earlier experience with the autoclave in Pangi had not been very reassuring.


Surgeries commenced on the second day and continued for four days, operating till midnight every day. Our teams functioned seamlessly together and worked like clockwork. There was absolutely no mobile phone signal in the hospital, an eventuality we were prepared for. The walkie talkies we had brought with us served us admirably. We performed fifty surgeries, 25 major, 25 minor, and 42 eye surgeries in these four days. Everyone wanted ultrasounds, including those with headache and earache. Dr. Deepa did 395 ultrasounds. All the patients did very well, and we were able to discharge all of them home on the third day of surgery, smiling, relieved and happy. We thank God for His overshadowing of every moment and protection for every event. We were able to pray for our patients and share God’s love with them.


We came away bearing the smiles and co-operation of all the people in our hearts. Every day we experienced their co-operation and help. Carrying patients to and fro from the operating theatre, arranging for water when the water supply stopped one day, providing Pangi apples for our team to snack on, and in just sharing a smile and the joy of being well again. All of us returned tired, but very gratified and grateful.





Kaaza surgical camp

Organising a surgical camp is like assembling a complicated lego model. People and equipment come together from far and wide and mingle to assume form,purpose and character. The team gels together over seven days pushing boundaries with equipment, challenging weather, and impassable roads that prevent health care from reaching these remote regions.

This year, our stalwart radiologist, Dr. UmaShanker felt bonhomie from Bangalore as the gynaecologists Dr. Ravi and Dr. Aryanya and the eye surgeon Dr. Jude Simmons were all from his hometown. We heard them bonding with each other in Kannada. The anesthetists Dr. Athipro and Dr. Preeti were from AIMS Delhi, and our eye team as usual were from CMC Ludhiana.

Piled into two force travelers, two Boleros, and accompanied by one pick up groaning with all our equipment including generator, Boyle’s machine and a humungus autoclave, led by the never tiring Dr. Bishan, we made our meandering way over Rohtang pass. Our outward journey was delayed by three hours by a landslide, but once clear of that, we reached Kaaza by the evening. Our team seasoned with many years of experience, swung into action to unload, and set up everything, deploying a functional operating room and outpatient clinics in the Kaaza civil hospital.

The next day onwards the outpatient clinics saw long lines of people queuing to be seen, for eyes to be checked, for potential surgery, but always the most popular request was for Dr. Uma to place his magic ultrasound probe on their tummy and tell them what deep mysteries lurked within.

Pea harvest was delayed in Kaaza this year so we saw less patients  than the years before, as the folk battled to gather their harvest  before the weather turned inclement. Nevertheless, we were able to see 857 patients, perform 16 major surgeries and 14 minor surgeries, 13 eye surgeries, and perform over 355 ultrasound examinations. All procedures were free for the patients.

Significant among the surgeries were two appendectomies performed on laborers and one two year old with ludwigs angina on the brink of respiratory distress. We marveled at God’s timing in permitting us to be there in time to take care of these emergencies.

This year we were able to induct the major surgeries into the FALCON RCT trial, an international study on surgical site infections being conducted across the world by the Global Surgery Collaborative, of which we are a part.

All the surgeries went off smoothly and uneventfully, despite the erratic power supply, a minor explosion of an oxygen regulator in the ot (from which thankfully no one was seriously injured). There were no complications and all the patients were discharged smiling and well.

On the final day, our visitors gathered the stamina to undertake an adventurous motorbike ride to see the mummy of Ghiuu, which proved an experience they are unlikely to forget.

Thank you one and all for the Kaaza surgical camp 2019. We are very grateful to all who made this possible, and brought smiles to the people of this region for whom this represents the only annual hope of obtaining elective surgery in their region.







Aseem Sambhavanaye

Saturday saw the gathering of our participants of our Community based rehabilation gather together under a pandal erected under a clear blue sky on Saturday 25th May. The title means unlimited possibilities. This was the sixth year in succession we have had this program, intended to provide a common meeting place for the participants to gather, share their stories, draw inspiration from each other and encourage each other on the difficult road they are called upon to walk. 

Participants are known to the rehab staff, but here they get to know and learn about one another, and listen to stories of courage and determination, see the progress others have made and draw determination and inspiration from each other. They each receive and are an inspiration. Bed bound patients from two years ago are no longer bed bound today. A patient who was on a wheelchair two years ago is today striding around with crutch supports and braces, independant and self supporting. These are stories of courage. 

There were health talks, motivational videos, games, sharing times, and lunch, topped off by dancing… yes dancing! 

Kudos to the physiotherapy team who has made all this possible. It was a very moving time for all concerned, and yet another event which will always remain in the hearts of those who attended. 


Continuing nursing education – focus on tuberculosis

One death a minute. A quarter of the world’s cases. Thirty per cent of the burden of drug resistant tuberculosis. One million missing patients.

These are stark and sobering statistics, foreboding facts forecasting a murky and uncertain future in our battle against the ubiquitous acid fast bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis. 

To spread awareness about this bomb ticking away in our society, the Lady Willingdon Hospital conducted a conference on continuing Nursing education that focussed on tuberculosis on the 11th of May 2019, to commemorate nurses day. Our nurses had organised the whole program which was a endearing mix of display of talent and current knowledge about the disease. Our honored chief guest was the Chief Medical Officer Kullu, Dr. Susheel Chandel. Invited dignitaries were the WHO Consultant for tuberculosis Dr. Ravinder Kumar, the Block Medical Officer Dr. Paljor, and the District Tuberculosis Officer Dr. Naresh. 

A poster presentation on tuberculosis was adjudged and some teams of nurses felicitated for their service with awards presented to them by the dignitaries. 

Our nurses put up meaningful dances, songs, and a street play which they had performed earlier on the Mall road in Manali, and also in various schools over the past week. Dr. Ravinder brought out current recommendations in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease and progress made including plans to tackle this scourge of our society. Dr. Philip narrated the experience of the Lady Willingdon hospital over the past fourteen years, bringing out real issues and areas of concern in the diagnosis and treatment of this disease. Nurses from other colleges in the region participated in renewing their vows to the service of humanity, led by our Nursing Supervisor, Sr. Prabhjot Kaur. It was a very meaningful time. 

Like all meaningful times, we had to finish with a sumptuous meal served by our intrepid cooks, who produced an eclectic fare including sepu vadi among other delights. 

A very meaningful  commemoration of a great bunch of people. 

Happy nurses day! 




LWH Nurses Week May 2019

In commemoration of the Nurses Week, the nurses of Lady Willingdon Hospital, Manali have decided to raise public awareness about Tuberculosis.

Even though there has been considerable progress in the last decade, TB is an infectious killer world-wide and the drug resistant TB poses a major threat.

Today the nurses performed street plays in the town in an effort to raise awareness against TB. They will be going to all the schools in Manali to perform skits and talk to the Teachers and Children about how the disease can be prevented and treated thus giving them knowledge about accessing the right treatment, at the right time.

At the starting point

Introduction by Sis Prabhjyot Nursing In Charge of LWH

Awareness in Action

LWH Team at Mall Road


ENT Camp

Special E.N.T. Camp is being held at Lady Willingdon Hospital, Manali from May 6, 2019 till May 9, 2019 at 1 PM.

Dr Suma Mathews Professor of ENT and Dr Divyan Samson Assistant Professor of ENT from CMC Vellore are available for consultation and surgery.  This three day camp is a platform for providing specialized health services for Ear, Nose and throat to the people of the valley. E.N.T. Camps are being held in the hospital for many years and hundreds of people have benefited from them.




With Patient



The memory of a long and cold  winter fades, giving way to clear skies, sunshine, and smiles on faces. Marking a season of work, and a pause before the vault into the activity of the summer, we all needed space and time to shake it out, and share a meal, fellowship, ice cream, our children, and of course… dancing. 

Click here to view the embedded video.



The in-house pharmacy was an assemblage of racks spilling over with medicines housed in impromptu locations, intelligible only to the pharmacy staff as they dispensed medicines. Cramped, and with paint peeling off the walls, it was a less than desirable space as a work area. We were able to renovate this whole area and install a goods lift for supplies from the overhead stores, thanks to our dedicated team of maintenance men, ably supervised by our Operations Manager, Mr. Franklyne Dhayalan. Now the dedicated staff truly have a comfortable work space that will permit them to continue to work to dispense health and healing to those in need. Thank you all team!

The photos were taken at the dedication of this space done today by Pastor Naresh Lall.