Paul Brand

Paul Brand was born July 17, 1914 in southern India. His parents, Jesse and Evelyn Brand, were missionaries there and his father was a doctor. Paul and his sister, Connie, often helped their parents with their work. Paul didn't want to be a doctor, but he did want to one day be a missionary like his parents. When Paul was nine he and his family went “home” to England, where he met several aunts, uncles, cousins, as well as his mother's mother. It took time for him to adjust to English customs. He attended a private school and hated it, so he transferred to the junior branch of the University College school. During this time his parents were in India serving a four year term.

At the age of fifteen Paul's father died from blackwater fever. The news shocked him and his sister. Evelyn took it hard and waffled between staying in England or going back to India. Eventually she did return to the mission field. After Paul turned sixteen Paul quit school and chose to become a builder, despite his mother urging him to become a doctor. Once he finished his apprenticeship he applied to the mission board. They turned him down; they wanted trained missionaries and they told him either to go to Bible college or take a one year medical course. He chose the medical course.

During that year Paul discovered he loved medicine and decided to become a doctor. His Uncle Dick offered to pay for his room, board, and tuition and Paul accepted the offer. At college he met Margaret Berry and while they worked well together, Paul didn't expect the relationship to end in anything serious. Margaret's parents were missionaries in South Africa and she wanted to become a surgeon. When World War II hit they continued their studies. Paul completed his practical training at the University College Hospital and still saw Margaret, even though she no longer lived in London. The became romantically involved and in 1942 he proposed and she accepted. In May, 1943 Paul and Margaret graduated as doctors and a week later they were married.

Paul worked to become a surgeon and got his surgical qualifications as he worked as a casualty surgeon, treating people injured in the bombings. Margaret lived with her parents in Northwood to help her father with his practice. The couple only saw each other two weekends a month. One day when he was visiting Margaret announced she was pregnant. In March of 1944 Christopher Brand was born. In May 1945 Paul passed his exams and officially became a surgeon. Then one day he received a telegram begging him to come to Vellore, India to teach at Christian Medical College & Hospital. The sender was Dr. Cochrane. Confused, Paul asked his mother, who had just returned for furlough, about Vellore and Cochrane. It turned out Evelyn had passed through Vellore and mentioned her son had recently become a surgeon. Paul longed to take the opportunity, but the Central Medical War Committee wasn't going to let him leave for India. Plus Margaret was expecting another baby. But everyone seemed to brush off these concerns. Soon the Central Medical War Committee exempted him from service, Jean Brand was born October, 1946, and the first week of November Paul set sail for India. After he arrived he settled in with Jack and Naomi Carman. Jack was head surgeon at the hospital. Paul immediately started helping there. June 1947 brought Margaret and the children to Vellore.

One day Dr. Cochrane took Paul to a leprosy hospital. That visit changed Paul's life. He began to examine the effects of the disease and tried to understand what was really going on. Up until this point nobody wanted to deal with the disease; they just assumed nothing could be done. But Paul's mind couldn't get off it. Margaret was supportive, but others were not. Paul pressed on though. Dr. Ida Scudder approved of his ideas and put her staff and facilities at his disposal. As Paul dove deeper into his studies he found that leprosy could be treated. He discovered the paralyzed hands and feet could possibly be operated on and fixed to some extent. He performed his first surgery on Krishnamurthy, a young man with nothing to loose. After one surgery the young man could walk correctly again. More sugeries followed and Krishnamurthy regained some use of his hands. A medical breakthrough had occurred and word began to spread that there was hope for the lepers. Later Krishnamurthy became a Christian and changed his name to John.

Meanwhile the Brand family was growing. Paul and Margaret had six children total. Margaret also worked at the Schell Eye Hospital. Paul continued making breakthroughs in his studies and now others joined him. He also started a leprosy rehabilitation village where those who had undergone surgery could live and learn a trade they could do with their limited movement.

In 1952 the Brand family returned to England with the intent that Paul should pursue his studies and get opinions from great physicians. Instead he wound up teaching at the Hunterian lectureship, the highest honor that can be bestowed on an English surgeon. He then traveled to America where he visited doctors, eager to hear their theories on leprosy. He and his family went back to India for five more years. Afterwards Paul went on a speaking tour while the family lived in England. When they went back to India Christopher and Jean stayed behind to attend boarding school. In May 1960 Paul received word that Dr. Ida Scudder died. He gave a eulogy at her funeral service and thought about the great woman who started a large hospital that treated tens of thousands of patients a year.

After serving nineteen years in India Paul moved to Carville, Louisiana in 1966 to become Chief of Rehabilitation Branch at a leprosarium. He also published a book titled Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. Every year in October Paul visited Vellore and his mother, who was still doing missionary work in her nineties. She died in 1974. Paul officially retired in 1986 after working in Carville for twenty years. Margaret retired a year later and they moved to Seattle. They still accepted speaking engagements and Paul taught as emeritus professor of Orthopedics at the University of Washington. He and Margaret also continued to study leprosy. In May 1993 they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. All their children were there, as well as their twelve grandchildren. Paul published several books over the years, among which are  In His Image (co-authored with Philip Yancey, 1984), Clinical Mechanics of the Hand (1986), The Forever Feast (1993), and Pain: The Gift Nobody Wants (also titled The Gift of Pain, co-authored with Philip Yancey, 1993).

May 2003 brought Paul and Margaret's sixtieth wedding anniversary. A month later he fell and hit his head. He underwent surgery to relieve the blood clot on his brain, but on July 8, 2003, he died at the age of eighty-eight.

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