100th Anniversary of Birth of Pioneering Surgeon Dr. Paul Brand —
On July 17, 2014, American Leprosy Missions celebrates the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Paul Brand who, along with his wife Dr. Margaret Brand, revolutionized the treatment of leprosy. Drs. Paul and Margaret Brand dedicated their medical careers and their lives to people affected by leprosy. They dramatically impacted the care and treatment of leprosy patients and were pioneers in changing how the world views leprosy and in improving the lives of people affected by the disease. The two doctors served at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, India as well as the Schieffelin Institute of Health – Research and Leprosy Center in Karigiri, India and the National Hansen’s Disease Center in Carville, Louisiana.
Dr. Paul Brand’s research and developments in the fields of leprosy and hand surgery were complemented by Dr. Margaret Brand, who pioneered the efforts to understand and repair leprosy-related eye damage. Dr. Paul Brand is renowned for his groundbreaking hand surgery technique, which is still widely used around the world. He also proved that the wasting away of fingers and toes is not due to infection by Mycobacterium leprae, but is the secondary result of loss of temperature and pain sensation in hands and feet caused by nerve damage. In partnership with award-winning author Philip Yancey, he wrote three acclaimed books: Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, In His Image and The Gift of Pain. Dr. Paul Brand served as Chairman of American Leprosy Missions’ Medical Consultative Committee and Dr. Margaret Brand served several terms on the board of American Leprosy Missions. In July 2003, Dr. Paul Brand passed away in Seattle, Washington, survived by his wife and their six children. Philip Yancey wrote in the foreword to the autobiography of Dr. Margaret Brand, Vision for God, that the Brands “… have left a very large imprint… by devoting themselves in service to some of the most neglected people on the planet. Having spent many hours with them both, I cannot help but think this was the vision God had for humanity: talented people serving others with cheer and compassion while embracing life – all of it – with contentment and gratitude.”