Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Big Problems; Little Solutions
The illnesses and injuries that John saw in patients on his most recent trip to Haiti were staggering. One woman's foot was literally rotting off her leg due to untreated diabetes. Because there was no anesthestist available, the woman had to wait a week for surgery. So instead of having her foot amputated, she had to have her leg amputated below the knee because the gangrene had spread.
The left side of one man's face was swollen to unbelievable proportions because of untreated tongue cancer that had spread to his jaw and neck. All John could do was give him pain medication.
One man had lockjaw from tetanus. His family would bring him liquid food that they were able to feed him.
A 30-year-old man fell out of a tree and broke his back. The staff was trying to figure out the best way to tell him that he would never walk again.
A married woman was trying to come to terms with the fact that both she and her husband tested positive for HIV.
Delayed treatment, lack of prevention, a hazardous envirnoment, lack of adequate medical care--these are some of the reasons that people are so ill. It can be overwhelming to learn about, so much so that we can throw up our hands and say, "It's beyond me."
But that attitude ensures that things will stay the same. I want to challenge everyone reading this to do one small thing to help Haiti. Think about what that could be.