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We believe that Indian guru Mata Amritanandamayi known as the “Hugging Saint” is Embezzling The World. Help us to spread the truth about her.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

AIMS is not a charitable hospital

This statement is written on this official advertisement page. The "Financial" section states that AIMS primary source of funding revenue is "out of pocket payments". Another article which promotes Amma's work emphasizes that AIMS "is engaged in serious research and affordable treatment to people all over India and abroad". Moreover this statement is also clearly written into an article which is meant to support Amma in relation to a highly publicised event. In 2012, a young girl named Swathi Krishna was in need of liver transplant.
Her family was too poor to afford the surgery, so her situation raised a wave of protest. Amma pretends that her numerous realisations are aiming at helping the poor. Swathi is poor. She doesn't get any help. What's wrong? A facebook page dedicated to her story and criticizing AIMS got 6000 likes and 13000 shares. The people donated $43,000 to help her, the government offered $8000 and AIMS removed $6000 from the bill. She was into a coma when she could finally benefit the surgery.

This could be considered a happy end but a complaint of defamation was then filed against the facebook page. The police estimated that the thousands of internet users who liked and shared this page could legally be sued! As if by magic, the articles which tell about the whole story gradually disappear from the web. Only the posts accounting for the success of the surgery remain. Let's not forget the inevitable nationalist activists pages, which remind us that it is a shame to criticize Amma, because she brings so much to the world.

By the way, not everyone is as lucky as Swathi Krishna. Babitha Jacob and Athira Balachandran are there to confirm that AIMS is definitely not free and charitable. It is a private expensive hospital which is sometimes involved in scandals, like for instance the illegal drug trials.

As part of Amma's 60th birthday celebration in 2013, AIMS has decided to offer $8,000,000 worth of free surgeries and treatments. It is an exceptional gift, a measure which is likely to be taken every 10 years. It also means that usually none of these are free. Let's try to estimate the value of this outstanding gift.

Swathi Krishna's surgery cost around 43 + 8 + 6 = $57,000.
If the amount is all spent in surgeries then we have 8,000,000 / 57,000 = 140 poor people.
And if it was not to be spent just in surgeries and on other treatments as well, then let's multiply this number by 10 for instance and assume that around 1,400 poor people will benefit from this opportunity.
According to this official page, the average number of inpatients is 50,000 for a year.
1,400 * 100 / 50,000 = 2.8%.

Does it means that to celebrate Amma's 60th birthday, AIMS will exceptionally offer an extra 3% of care for free? If it is the case then what is the usual percentage of free care? The calculation has been made only with the number of inpatients. The average number of outpatients is 450,000. Including this number in the calculation would have resulted in a far lower percentage.

It's easy to play with numbers and draw sweeping conclusions. It would be more accurate to recalculate, using the number of paying patients and the type of free care to be delivered. Indeed, if these $8,000,000 only involve a few surgeries and a lot of medications, AIMS may be able to claim hundreds of thousands of free cares. But according to the same official page, "Amrita has attracted grants from various governmental and private funding agencies to the tune of more than Rs.100 crores in the past eight years", more than 16 millions of dollars. This is the only number which is sure, the gift is worth half of the grants.

Maybe the high prices and grants can be explained by the fact that AIMS is at the cutting edge of technology and delivers first grade quality care. The hospital is advertised as a "not-for-profit organization dedicated to establishing a centre of healthcare excellence". Alas, the paying customers don't all agree with the official point of view.

When Amma tours in western countries, AIMS is presented as a charitable institution. What is her definition for the word "charitable"? Do her devotees agree with her specific definition? Do they know that their donations are partly used to equip and service a paying hospital?