They say the answers to the greatest mysteries lie within us. Ironically, both experts in science and matters of faith will agree with it.
So, it is down to the genes at Amrita Hospitals, where medical science and spirituality seem to go hand in hand. Founded by Mata Amritanandamayi—popularly known as Amma—it is reinforcing its focus in the fields of genomics and cell biology. Having been big on technology since it began operations in Kochi in 1998, Amrita Hospitals is also expanding on its existing research on nanotechnology and informatics. And now, it has added two new research centres to its name—one at the Amritapuri campus of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham in Kollam and the other adjacent to the Amrita Hospital in Kochi.
The Amrita Advanced Research Centres were remotely inaugurated by Union Home Minister Amit Shah during the silver jubilee celebrations of the hospital in Kochi on June 4. The new centres will focus on six areas—emerging technologies and intelligent systems, sustainability and environmental management, health care and medical innovation, education and accessibility, smart manufacturing and automation, and sustainable innovation. The aim is to integrate the research domains to build affordable products.
“Starting with a mere 125 beds, Amrita Hospital in Kochi has transformed into a 1,350-bed facility,” said Shah. “It is now counted among the world’s best. Apart from service to the poor, where it has treated lakhs of patients for free, the hospital also has an impressive record in medical excellence and research, with several firsts to its credit such as doing India’s first micro blood stem cell transplantation, being India’s first hospital to do the largest number of high-precision robotic liver transplants and setting up India’s first 3D printing lab.”
The hospital has also announced Rs 65 crore in charitable care over the next one year. “Amrita Hospital has spent more than Rs 816 crore in providing free medical care to people,” said Swami Amritaswarupananda Puri, vice chairman of Mata Amritanandamayi Math.
“Of 1.96 crore patients treated at the hospital so far, 59 lakh patients were given either free or subsidised treatment.”
The institution will offer an additional Rs 25 crore this year for free treatment of needy patients.
Apart from Shah, Kerala Health Minister Veena George, Kerala Agriculture Minister P. Prasad, Lok Sabha MP Hibi Eden and Kochi Mayor T.J. Vinod were present at the event. While Amma could not attend the celebrations, she sent a pre-recorded video message, thanking the doctors and nurses for their service and dedication.
“It is a blessing to be able to bring solace to someone in pain,” said Amma. “This is why doctors who serve in the hospital, the nurses and others should smile with their heart. They have their own personal family responsibilities. Still, it would be good if we could forget that and have the attitude that we are consoling our own child when dealing with each patient.”
But she also remembered Dr Vandana Das, who was stabbed to death by a patient in Kerala in May. “It will remain etched as an ineradicable pain in everyone’s heart,” she said. “Doctors now have to move around in a state of fear…. [I] pray for the parents of that daughter, that they find peace.”
Like Shah, Amma, too, offered condolences to those who lost family members in the train accident in Odisha on June 2. “The relatives and friends of the dead are in limbo, neither dead nor alive,” she said.
“No medicine can cure their agony.”
Perhaps, the answer to that mystery also lies within us.