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Christian Medical College Vellore

Not to be ministered unto but to minister

Vision Statement: The Christian Medical College, Vellore, seeks to be a witness to the healing ministry of Christ, through excellence in education, service and research

Three Knocks in the Night

Portrait of Ida Scudder in her later years

130 years ago, young Ida Scudder came to India to look after her sick mother. Three knocks on her door completely changed the course of her life. She wrote:  

“The thought of studying medicine never occurred to me, until one day a knock came at my door. I opened the door to find a man standing there in an attitude of request. His wife was dying, would I come to her. I was a young girl, knew nothing of medicine and would not go. I begged him to allow my father, a medical man, to go in my stead. But the man refused because they were strict gosha people*. He told me he would rather his wife would die than have a man attend her – he went away. Strange as it seemed to me then – two other men came that day – and twice more help from a medical man was refused.

We could not forget those women, and the next day I sent a peon to the houses. He returned saying all three little women had died. It was an awful thought to me that three women died because there was no qualified medical woman to help them. That day I faced the question which doubtless every one of you has faced – how can I fill this appalling need?”

Ida followed her heart. She studied medicine, came to Vellore and started a dispensary. She made home visits to the sick and dying. Soon her little clinic grew into a hospital. She started a nursing school and then a medical school for women. From these seeds sprouted the 3,000 bed, world-class, multi-speciality teaching hospital that is the CMC we know today.

Today is Founder’s Day, the 149th anniversary of Dr.Ida Scudder’s birth. Let’s keep her legacy alive. Inspire someone by sharing her story of courage and determination!

Thank you for your support,

Hugh Skeil
Development Office, CMC Vellore

PS. Listen to Ida Scudder’s voice as she tells this story

From Ida’s handwritten note in “One Step at a Time” by Reena George (p.50)* gosha is another term for women in purdah

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