Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Compasionate Moment

A husband sleeps next to his wife's bed as she slowly recovers from her wounds. It's the family members that are providing the vast majoring of the care here in post-earthquake Haiti.

Late at night I walk through the hospital checking on patients as they sleep on stained cots, their family members are laying on the ground next to them. I'm constantly approached by panicked family members begging me in very broken English to come and look at their loved ones. They grab at my hand and plead, "Doctor, doctor...please come. Come please". I fight to be compassionate, but the urge to dismiss their concerns is strong. I follow a "real physician" into the shadows of a darkened tent, a single candle burns on a rickety table covered with medical refuse from the day before. I watch the physician deal with the panicked father/son/brother as it's evident that the cause of his angst was an IV bag that has run it's course. The physician smiles and pats the man's shoulder telling him as best that he can through a smile and a gesture that it's OK. The man relaxes and I'm standing there in awe. Certainly the physician is medically talented, but to be able to muster that sort of focused compassion amidst all of the suffering was truly inspiring for me. Simply awesome.

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