Thursday, November 09, 2006
Who Gets a Chest X-ray?
Above is a picture of a chest x-ray from one of John's patients. Many people come to the clinic with bad sounding lungs and getting an x-ray is crucial to diagnosing the ailment, particularly when it could be tuberculosis, which is lethal, though curable with the right meds. The good news about x-rays at this particular clinic is that they only cost the equivalent of $6.50 U.S. The bad news is that many of the patients don't even have this much money, and neither do their friends and relatives.
In many cases, Haitian Hearts pays for x-rays, medicine, and food for patients. We can't do this for everyone, though, which is an agonizing, Sophie's-choice type situation to be in daily. Who to help? We are limited people in a land of unlimited need. This reality doesn't stop us from wanting to help, but does leave us feeling badly for those we don't assist.
How do we decide? We look at the way people are dressed and their over all condition. The signs of malnutrition are obvious. How ill the child is also plays a role in the decision. If the parents are carrying cell phones, we don't give them money. But most of the people who come to the clinic are poor, hailing from places like Cite Soleil or other slums throughout Port-au-Prince. The little bits of money--to us--that we give out at the clinic can go a long way to saving lives.