Friday, May 08, 2015

A Good Read

I just finished reading this lovely little book, the personal story of Louise Troh, who invited her long lost love Eric Duncan to come to the United States to build a future together, only to lose him to Ebola disease within a month of his arrival.  I loved it. And I hated it.  You will get to know a true Liberian woman if you read this book. She is an iconic Liberian "mother" but she is also honest about ways in which she has not been perfect.  On the other hand, her story reveals to us how our media-saturated culture of outrage has dehumanized those who get caught up in a situation like hers -- spewing vitriole and hostility, spreading gossip and outright lies, making them victims of our fears.  It's shameful.  It also raises uncomfortable questions about the royal treatment that the other (dare I say, white and/or American) patients, including Rick, were given compared to the abusive scorn directed at Ms. Troh, Mr. Duncan and their families.  These are questions that we all need to confront, confessing that injustices exist. I'm so sad that she lost a chance at love because he did not get the level of treatment that was made available to us.

A shining light in the midst of this story was the loving care of the Wilshire church for Louise and her family.  It was an example of the way the body of Christ is supposed to be. Her own courage to rise above the hurt and wait on God for justice and provision is a testimony of her trust in God, though some might accuse her of being too passive. I would maintain she could not have chosen a more powerful way to speak against injustice and prejudice than to tell her story in her own voice (with the help of a journalist who seemed to understand and respect her)  without polishing her words to sound like a civil rights activist.  Reading her story, I shared her pain and her anger-- I experienced her journey as a war refugee, and a struggling and misunderstood immigrant, and matriarch of a close-knit family building a life as new American citizens. Perhaps if more of us knew people like Louise Troh personally, or even through a book like this, we'd see more progress in dealing with the injustices that continue to exist in our society.
Look for my review. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

An unexpected opportunity

There is something wonderful about the look on the face of a young, enthusiastic physician as they learn something new. 

I’ve gotten to see that look a couple of times during this visit to Liberia. We have three new Liberian physicians working with us who have just completed their internships and are presently in a six month emergency obstetric and surgical skills training program. We call them our post-interns. They will spend three months with us and three more at another hospital. Then they will be deployed to a rural hospital post for a two year term of service.  This system is part of the tuition-free medical education program in Liberia.
A couple days ago I led a mini-training session about the management of bleeding after childbirth; this coming Tuesday I’ll be teaching them again on the use of insulin in diabetic emergencies.  Today they were getting some words of wisdom from our Medical Director Dr. Jerry Brown before starting rounds. 

If you know me, you know that training doctors is my passion. While much of what we do and know is contained in books and articles, there is a lot of personal experience and nuance that gets passed on from doctor to doctor, during rounds, “curbside” consultations, and case discussions. I am again moved and stimulated to continue to pray and trust God to help us establish a Family Medicine residency program here at ELWA.