This post contains affiliate links. I know very little about leprosy besides the mention of it that I hear in the Bible. When I picked up the book Paul Brand: Helping Hands by Janet & Geoffe Benge, I knew I would be reading about a missionary doctor who worked in India. I didn’t know anything else about Paul Brand. Was I in for a surprise. This book was a fascinating look into the life of a man who made such a difference in the lives of so many people.
About Paul Brand: Helping Hands by Janet & Geoffe Benge
Paul Brand spent his first nine years in India. He was the child of a missionary doctor, and he decided early he would never be a doctor. (There were quite a few gross descriptions early on in the book, especially about a worm that embeds in the body and has to be pulled out slowly over several days. After reading that, I could see why Brand would determine medicine was not for him!)
The Brands went on furlough back to their home country of England when Paul was nine. They spent several months in the country, and then Paul’s parents returned back to the Indian missionary field without Paul or his younger sister. Apparently, at that time, missionaries regularly left their children in England in the care of family or at boarding schools while the parents went back to the missionary field.
I’ve read about this before, but each time I read it, I find it unbelievably cruel. As it is, Paul’s father died when he was 15, but Paul had trouble feeling grief because he hadn’t seen his father in six years.
Paul eventually does decide to become a doctor, but he doesn’t intend to go back to India until an opportunity drops in his lap. He and his wife spent decades in India and raised their six children there.
The heart of this story is about Paul’s focus on the hands of leprosy patients. Indeed, Brand was a pioneer in both leprosy research and compassion for people suffering from this disease.
I was fascinated to read how Brand learned more and more about leprosy. Apparently, before Brand, there was very little research on the disease because of the stigma it carries. I was also amazed how Brand could help the patients get back there mobility and use of their hands and feet. He was a true pioneer.
Even though this was pegged as a missionary story, there was very little of his missionary work in here. Instead, the book was primarily about his medical discoveries, and I found it fascinating.
I give Paul Brand: Helping Hands by Janet & Geoffe Benge 4.5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.