The Dedication of the Paul Brand Building

This Building houses the administrative offices of  Surgical Departments, namely General Surgery, Orthopaedics, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Hand Surgery and their specialities. It was dedicated on September 11, 2012.

It includes not only the administrative offices of nearly fifteen surgical specialities, but also two state-of-the-art halls for conferences, workshops and examinations. These halls, named after Dr. C.K. Job and Dr. Jacob Chandy respectively, have the facility of relaying live telecasts from the Operating Rooms, an important avenue for teaching students and for the conduct of live workshops and CMEs. The Simulation Laboratory, gift from the MBBS batch of 1958-59 and the Dr. A.S. Fenn Surgical Skills Laboratory are also located in the Paul Brand Building.

 

Dr. Paul Wilson Brand
 July 17, 1914 – July 8, 2003

Dr. Paul Brand was born in India in 1914 to a missionary couple. He was sent back to England in 1923 for more formal education.He did medicine in University College Hospital, London and on completing his surgical training in 1946, came to CMC at the behest od Dr. Robert Chochrane. He spent a year in general surgery before moving to orthopaedics. He was not sure what he wnated to do as his speciality until one day went to Dr. Cochrane’s leporacy sanatorium in Chingleput.

DrPaulBrand[1]Very little was known about the true cause of leprosy deformities. It was generally believed that the hands and feet of infected people simply disintegrated or rotted away as a direct result of the disease. Dr Robert Cochrane, challenged Dr. Paul Brand to use his skills as an orthopaedic surgeon to find out why people with leprosy developed deformed hands, and to try to find an effective treatment.

Dr Brand drew on experience he had gained during WWII with polio-paralyzed and war-injured hands. He undertook extensive research on damaged hands to test muscle strength and sensation. There were many obstacles to overcome – not the least being prejudice and resistance to using surgical skills on people with leprosy, and allowing them access to hospital care.

Through his research in South India, Dr Brand changed forever the world’s perceptions and treatments of leprosy-affected people:

Paul Brand 2First, he pioneered the startling idea that the loss of fingers and toes in leprosy was due entirely to infection and was thus preventable. Because leprosy attacks chiefly the nervous system, resultant tissue abuse occurs because the patient loses the warnings of pain – not because of inherent decay brought on by the disease. Paul Brand discovered the gift of pain, claiming that because leprosy destroyed the sensation of pain in affected parts of the body, pain-deprived people inadvertently injured and destroyed themselves.

Second, as a skilled and inventive hand surgeon, he pioneered tendon transfer techniques with leprosy patients, and opened up a whole new world of disability prevention and rehabilitation for the most vulnerable and helpless in society.

In the late 1940s, he became the first surgeon in the world to use reconstructive surgery to correct the deformities of leprosy in the hands and feet. Dr. Margaret Brand devoted herself to researching methods to prevent blindness in persons with leprosy. Later, Dr. Paul Brand was able to apply similar techniques to treat the limbs of persons with diabetes, as both diseases destroy pain sensation.

In 1953 the Brands joined the staff of The Leprosy Mission, and continued to develop their research and training work at Vellore and at the nearby Schieffelin Leprosy Research and Training Centre, Karigiri, newly founded and funded jointly by The Leprosy Mission and American Leprosy Missions. In 1964 after over 17 years in India, Paul Brand was appointed as The Leprosy Mission’s Director of Surgery and Rehabilitation which offered worldwide opportunities to share his life-changing skills.

Two years later they were seconded to the United States Public Health Service Hospital in Carville, Louisiana, which is the only leprosy hospital in the US and a world-famous centre for leprosy research. Here Paul was Director of the Rehabilitation Branch until his retirement in 1986 and continued to act as Medical Consultant to The Leprosy Mission. From 1993 to 1999, Dr Brand was President of The Leprosy Mission International.

In retirement Dr Brand continued to contribute to leprosy work through his advisory role to The Leprosy Mission and to the World Health Organisation. He moved to Seattle and became Clinical Professor of Orthopoedics, Emeritus at the University of Washington.

A gifted speaker and writer, Dr Brand has received many honours and awards in recognition for his outstanding achievements: he was Hunterian Professor of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1952; in 1960 he received the Albert Lasker Award for outstanding leadership and service in the field of rehabilitation; in 1961 he was honoured by Queen Elizabeth II with a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) for promotion of good relations between the Republic of India and Great Britain; in 1977 the Damian-Dutton Award for outstanding contributions in prevention of disabilities due to leprosy; and the US Surgeon General’s Medallion for his rehabilitation work in Carville, LA.

Dr Brand authored 100 scientific papers and seven books, including Clinical Mechanics of the Hand, which is the premier handbook for hand surgeons, physiotherapists and other hand specialists. Co-author with Philip Yancey of three inspiring books, “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made” “In His Image”, and “Pain – The Gift Nobody Wants”, Paul Brand is also the subject of Dorothy Clarke Wilson’s biography, “Ten Fingers for God”.

Dr Brand died on Tuesday, 8th July 2003 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle Washington, aged 89, surrounded by his wife, Dr Margaret Brand and family.

Dr Paul Brand spent a lifetime working with people affected by leprosy, doing his utmost to destroy the stigma of the disease, and rebuild the lives of those destroyed by it. In doing so, he recognised the extraordinary gift of pain that the rest of the world usually takes for granted. Within each person he treated, he saw a broken spirit full of pain, as well as a broken body which felt no pain. And in each person Paul Brand saw the image of God.

(Excerpts from the article by Rowland Croucher and CMC Newsline)

 
 
 
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