Posted by Howe Q. Wallace on Thursday, March 20th, 2014
I’ve been in Guatemala this week with my wife on a medical mission trip. She is a nurse making her ninth trip. I started coming a few years ago. I wash dishes, help the cooks and run errands for the medical team.
One of the outcomes of making this trip is to reinforce the blessing of accessible healthcare we experience in America. I’ve seen cases every day here that wouldn’t occur. Here’s an example:
General surgeon Pete Holliman repaired a large hernia a 57-year-old man had endured for almost 20 years. The hernia caused severe discomfort and limited mobility. The man, a field hand, suffered mightily as he worked to survive.
In America, hernias that occur at work get fixed immediately on workers’ comp. If you show up at a hospital with one, chances are good it gets fixed whether or not you have insurance.
In a third-world country, you suffer through it. You endure it without hope it can be fixed. Eventually you succumb to it as the pain causes you to retire and sit.
Things may not be perfect in our system. We sometimes wait long periods for a doctor to see us but that’s minutes, hours or days. Occasionally mistakes are made when care is provided.
But, while in Guatemala, I’m reminded that those issues are ones faced by folks in the “first world.” We are lucky to be in America and have the care we do.
It’s our responsibility to see to your care if you are hurt while working. It’s our privilege to provide a comprehensive health insurance program which helps provide a quality, healthy life while guarding against financial ruin.
Before coming to Guatemala, I would take the healthcare access for granted. Not anymore.
I recommend you consider your fortune. It makes life a bit brighter as you continue the journey.