Dr Monica’s correspondence with Dr Bimal Charles
Copies of two letters from Dr Monica Thomas who was suspended and subsequently resigned from St Stephen’s Hospital
Dear Dr Bimal ,
I was reading the mission of the Doctors’ section of the Christian Medical Association
Providing a forum for dialogue and debate on faith and ethics in Christian medical work
Promoting a sense of Christian calling to the profession
Promoting health as a social justice issue
I am a little puzzled and unsure which of these aims was fulfilled when Sujatha and you wrote that letter to the Director , produced yesterday as a prime piece of evidence .
In the wake of a senior doctor’s termination , a few of us expressed concern – that is the sum total of our crimes. When Jacob visited your home that evening , he thought you ,as a Board member would help resolve the situation . He visited your home as a friend , neighbour , Christian brother ; however , you made his visit out to be a dastardly plot to topple the leadership ; your letter was a betrayal of his trust in your oft stated Christian faith and commitment .If you had acted according to scripture Mathew 5 v 17 , 2 Peter 3 v 8 , you would have shown sympathy , brotherly love , and spoken to the Director , another Christian brother and resolved the issue . Instead , today , as an institution , we are in the midst of the worst publicity ever experienced by the hospital and a loss of credibility
When I spoke to Sujatha on her way to the OPD , I was only expressing a valid concern regarding the loss of job security in a Mission Hospital ; I was basically paraphrasing pastor Niemoller’s words – ‘ first they came …. and I didnt speak out .
To drag Dr Mathew’s name in that insinuating question was uncalled for ; am sure you know of his expertise , passion for excellence and struggle for equity of care to the poor .
We are all proud of the work done by the Community Health Department – the same spirit which supports community work should be understanding of the unique needs of the psychiatric patients . Your statement was a misrepresentation.
After experiencing such a sudden loss of employment , I can fully empathise with your compulsion to side with the Director in his decisions – after all , if you took a contrary stand , you have too much to lose .
I trust someday , these battle wounds will heal , and we can have fellowship together .
Dear Dr Bimal ,
I first met you at the Governing Board meeting in September 2012 –a brief meeting in which you said your move to Delhi was in response to God’s call to serve in the North . I was impressed with that commitment to Missions as it resonated with the Lord’s commission to all of us .
On a Monday morning in March 2013 , on my way to work , as I was very disturbed about the Hospital finances and opaque style of management , I spoke to a few friends , Christian leaders , and told them I would speak to you ; the reason for the choice was you sounded genuine the one time I met you ; I saw your wife Sujata near the Private OPD water cooler and asked for your phone number ; she was friendly and told me you were coming in to see Dr John Punnose in hospital shortly ; she dialled your number , found out you were in the hospital already , and walked with me to where you were seated outside Dr Punnose’s room . You said you would see me after the checkup with Dr Punnose , and came a short while later to my room in the Private OPD ; we had a brief chat about the Hospital . That morning , on the 11th of March , the salaries had not yet been credited ; You said ‘ I know how late the salaries are coming because my wife works here . You then went on to say that a delay in salaries is the first indicator of poor financial health of an institution ; buildings go much later . ‘
When I asked whether you were not afraid of taking a stand on the Hospital Board , you said ‘ I am not afraid to speak up ; I have earned enough money ; there is a corporate job waiting for me even now in Chennai ‘ . You then asked me if I thought there was any integrity issue with the Director ; I said I did not suspect the Director of any financial irregularities . You then said pointedly ‘ I do not mean financial integrity ‘ ; by this time , I realised what you were getting at; so , I said ‘ you have been living on the hospital campus for a year ; why don’t you tell me if there is anything going on ‘ . To that , your reply was ‘ I believe there is some problem with the Director’s personal life ‘ .
After some other bits of conversation , we prayed together . You came across as a Christian leader concerned for the well being of St Stephen’s Hospital , which is why we thought you could help out in the mess following Rani Bhatia’s termination . There was no response from you to the mails I sent to the Board members requesting mediation , but I was very unpleasantly surprised to see your letter to the Director produced at Dr Jacob’s enquiry. I wonder what caused such a shift . I am also sad that neither you nor Sujata have enquired after me during these very difficult months.