Leadership from Samaritan’s Purse, including World Medical Mission staff, joined hospital surgeons, physicians, and other medical professionals, as well as hundreds of local residents, to commemorate the opening of a new, state-of-the-art, four-story medical facility.
The new 120,000-square-foot structure, which was funded in part by Samaritan’s Purse, will replace the original 30,000-square-foot, single-story hospital. Patient capacity has increased from 50 beds to 120 beds; surgical rooms have increased to seven with space to add several more.
Earlier in the week, a wing of the new hospital was dedicated in a special ceremony in honor of the late Dr. Lowell Furman. Lowell, together with his brother and fellow surgeon Dr. Richard Furman, started World Medical Mission in 1977. Lowell was a long-time friend of Memorial Christian Hospital, and both Furmans made multiple trips to Malumghat to provide surgical care. Richard Furman and Edward Graham, youngest son of Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham, were among those on hand for the dedication event.
Dr. Lance Plyler, current World Medical Mission director, was also in Bangladesh and lauded the rich history of partnership between Samaritan’s Purse and Memorial Christian Hospital.
“I was quickly reminded why we continue to partner so closely with MCH,” Plyler said after going on medical rounds with Dr. Stephen Kelley, the hospital’s chairman of the surgical department. “The patients that occupied the beds represented diverse ethnicities and religions. Not only did these patients desperately need compassionate medical care, but to learn about the unconditional love of the Great Physician.”
Kelley learned of the medical needs in Bangladesh through prior work at ELWA Hospital in Liberia, another longtime Samaritan’s Purse partner. He served as a short-term volunteer with World Medical Mission at Memorial Christian Hospital in 1988, and he and his family have now served there since 1996.
The Fruit of Long-term Partnership
Memorial Christian Hospital was started in 1966 as a medical outpost of the Association of Baptists. For nearly four decades, Samaritan’s Purse has partnered with the hospital, sending volunteer surgeons on service trips beginning in 1981.
More recently, Samaritan’s Purse assisted with the medical care of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar. During this 2017-2018 response, Samaritan’s Purse sent a DC-8 cargo plane carrying medical equipment and supplies, extra beds, and construction materials to provide additional patient wards during the height of the refugee crisis.
Started in 2013, the brand-new building triples patient capacity and will allow the hospital to increase surgical volume and provide space for more advanced surgical and diagnostic equipment. The roof even features a helipad for helicopter transport of critical patients.
The original medical campus will be repurposed to house the hospital’s Health Sciences College, a book store, and the Limb and Brace Center. Memorial Christian Hospital serves as a major surgical resource for the region—home to 10 million people—and they address overwhelming spiritual and physical needs in Jesus’ Name.
Editor’s Note: This article and these photos originally appeared on Samaritan’s Purse February 28, 2020. Used with permission.
ABWE exists to fulfill the Great Commission by multiplying leaders, churches, and missions movements among every people.