Bringing God Back into Healthcare
September 24, 2015
by Daniel Gomez
During my senior year at The Ohio State University, I decided to enroll in a winter break volunteer program. I felt that it would allow me to do something to help people in their physical state, but also give me the chance to speak about God. I was selected to be one of three leaders and led a group of 50 students. Our primary destination was Boston, and the objective was to help the homeless, patients with HIV/AIDS and the prison population. We spent about four months preparing for the trip by hosting meetings with the participants and spent approximately a week in the Greater Boston area. The location where our group stayed was in the basement of a church and each morning was spent traveling to our destination. We would spend numerous hours every day volunteering in each individual facility.
When I was at the HIV/AIDS community, I was cooking and cleaning in the kitchen with one of the employees who had gone through a tragic experience. He lost his wife from a heart attack, lost his home and the moved in with some friends. He told me he was on the verge of losing his position and his manager did not care to hear his story. He began seeing a psychologist after having thoughts of suicide. After speaking with him, he was thankful for the time I spent listening, and it showed positive effects. I began to pray for him and others who are in similar or worse situations. The Lord works through any of us, including pre-med students, medical students and graduate healthcare professionals, to help the spiritual needs of people.
While at the HIV/AIDS community, there were several people who were not only suffering from their condition, but some told me they had physicians who did not pay attention to their mental state or their complaints about their personal life. They said these physicians only cared about their medical condition and they had no one else to turn to. A majority of these individuals had no family nearby or had moved from another country. The fact that their chief complaint was not the medical aspect of their condition, but rather the fact that they had no one to hear their social type-issues, really caught my attention. This showed me how significant it is to make sure that people receive care for their entire being, including their mental and social settings, and not solely their physical state. It also reminds me of how important it is to make sure that the spirit is also taken into account as there are always continuous attacks on the spirit of a person.
Another similar situation occurred when it was our turn to volunteer at a specific homeless shelter. I was cooking different dishes under the supervision of the site coordinators when I spoke with one man who shared his life story. He was a college graduate and had plans of continuing his education at a graduate program. He eventually started to use drugs and lost his job, family and apartment. He told me that no one wanted to listen to him and I was the first person to care about his life story. He consulted with a psychiatrist, but there were no positive results from the visits. The experience, he said, made him feel as if his mental state worsened as barely any questions were asked about his emotional health. For that reason, he did not want to visit any more doctors. I feel as if placing God in the forefront of healthcare would have a larger impact, because healing has a close connection with the works of Jesus.
This made me realize how important it is to help people in need, by not simply donating or cooking dinners for the homeless or the HIV/AIDS community, but by also praying for them and trying to speak about the Lord, if possible. There are aspects of human kindness that need to be applied when assisting these communities such as offering these individuals the time to listen to their life stories and showing compassion to their situation. I caught a glimpse of how merely listening to someone and speaking words of encouragement had such an effect. Prayer has the most powerful effect, however, since God is the Great Physician and He is the only one who can truly cure us!