India's hospital train lifeline express.
- Lazarus, Zelma.
About this work
This documentary looks at all aspects of a unique rail service, the Lifeline Express, which brings valuable medical care to the poor people of rural India. Founded by Sir John Wilson the train has 6 regular members of staff but relies on volunteer surgeons and anaesthetists to perform all operations. It aims to spend 4 weeks in each location it visits performing a week of ear surgeries, a week of polio surgeries, a week of lip surgeries and a week of eye surgeries. We join the train as it pulls into Mandsor station, central India. Surgery is performed on 11-year-old Dashrath who is gradually going deaf, 17-year-old Sapna whose foot is disabled from polio, 1-year-old Shiva and 11-year-old Vishal who have cleft palates and on an elderly woman with a cataract. We also hear about the various problems the train encounters such as a major Punjab protest which closes down much of the train line between Mumbai and Delhi, and problems finding beds in the local hospital for post-operative care. Insight is also provided into the social and economic backgrounds of each of the patients and the way the surgery changes their lives.