Medicine for the Hurting

“Christine, there is something wrong with my baby, and I think I have it, too. Could you take me to the hospital?” Lourdes was a single mom, who had recently trusted Christ. Even over the phone, she sounded very worried.

We picked up the young mother and her three-month old baby girl a few minutes later. I immediately saw the reason for her concern. Their skin was covered with scabs, beginning at the abdomen and concentrated around their lower limbs. The baby’s tiny legs and feet were almost completely covered. Both had been ill with respiratory infections the week before; the skin condition had set in shortly after. It looked a lot like impetigo. I walked with them immediately to the public hospital to get treatment.

During the long wait in the emergency room, I assured Lourdes everything would be just fine. "They'll give you some medicine to clear it up--don't worry." As a new mom myself, I sympathized with her. There's nothing worse than seeing your child suffer.

When Lourdes finally emerged from seeing the doctor, I asked to see her prescriptions. To my surprise, there were only two; both were for the baby. One medicine was for the symptoms of the respiratory infection, and the other was simply a written instruction to buy acetaminophen drops. “Where are your prescriptions? And why didn’t she give you something for the baby’s skin?” I asked.

“She said she would only treat one of us, so I told her to treat the baby,” Lourdes tearfully replied.

I tried to control my frustration as I back-tracked to the doctor who had seen Lourdes. “Why have you not seen both of these patients? And where is the prescription to treat the skin bacteria? They are going to keep infecting each other unless you treat both mother and daughter!”

“Oh! Yes, you are right, doctora! Just a minute and I will have those for you!” Her reply caught me off guard—it took me a minute to realize what was going on. She thinks I'm a doctor, visiting with some foreign medical brigade! As she rushed around preparing an injection and filling out more prescriptions, I couldn’t help but enjoy my undeserved power—I decided that on my next trip to the public hospital, I should borrow a white coat and stethoscope to see that our patients got the best of care!

So many times, so-called “mission” works treat people the same way the dilapidated public hospital in El Progreso does. They address a few surface symptoms instead of dealing with the root of the problem. Some short-term relief may follow, but these people are ultimately doomed to return to the same miserable condition. Any assistance, whether economic, educational, or medical, must be given with the ultimate goal of sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we fail to give the gospel, all of our other efforts are temporal at best. Let’s remember the real reason we give to others—we must bring dying men to the Savior before it is too late.

Hospital El Progreso
2 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Amen! Well said...
    For a small charge I'll send you my medical license number to use... :-)
    -David Hurst

  2. Kimberly Henderson Grainger Says:

    You go, girl! The women in our family have a long history of standing up for others in need, helping the hurting, and being rather, um, "feisty"!
    Love you, cous!

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