Buddhist monk Lama Thupstan Chogyal and his hospital is the only solace for people in Leh, the northern most part of India. With suspected coronavirus cases in the region and the government run hospital running out of space, the Ladakh Heart Foundation opened its doors to the people.
Ladakh Heart Foundation is a non-profit free hospital founded by Chogyal. The hospital has now a couple of suspected corona patients. Chogyal said that the state administration had asked the service of the hospital a few weeks back. “This this is a free hospital and the doctors and other staff are working voluntarily. I only asked the authorities to deploy a few doctors and other staff,” the Lama was quoted.
The state administration agreed to the proposal and it has admitted a couple of suspected cases now. Stating that he was in the hospital all the time, the lama said that he and his men were at the hospital to render all help to the state administration.
He said that the first case was recorded in Chuchot. The pilgrims had come from Iran and the infection spread to their relatives. Chogyal said that they had to ensure that it does not spread.
Chogyal said that the hardest part is seeing the children who are quarantined. He said that the children are confined to a room when they have to be out laying and that was sad.
Meanwhile, the doctors at the state run hospital said that it was a great gesture on the part of the LHF to have provided the facility. This would help in the reduction of spreading of the virus to others. The chance of spreading of the virus was high if the patients were admitted at the state run hospital. Here a large number of people come every day and the chances are high.
Chogyal was born in Spituk village near Leh. He belonged to a family which practised traditional medicine for generations. However, his destiny was to become a monk.
He studied at the Spituk monastery and then at a monastery in Karnataka. Later he went to the Namgyal Monastery in Dharamshala. He went to South Korea to study Zen Buddhism. He also visited United Kingdom for a study. But he returned soon to Leh to start the hospital.
He said that the idea of a heart hospital came to his mind after he saw a number of patients, especially young children, with rheumatic heart disease (RHD) at the Ladakh Buddhist Vihara in Delhi. They had travelled to Delhi for treatment.
The Ladakh heart Foundation receives about 500 to 700 patients daily. Dr Tsering Landol and Dr Tsering Norbu, both of whom have been awarded the Padma Shri, are those who volunteer here.