Saturday, October 26, 2013

O Quam Gloriosum est Regnum - Victoria

Guess what I'm learning?!  As one of my sisters just said, "This feeds my soul."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Young Haitian Doctors Begin Medical Residencies at University Hospital

Via the Partners in Health website, some very good news:

Young Haitian Doctors Begin Medical Residencies at University Hospital

Excerpts from the article:

This month, University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti, took a significant step toward becoming the teaching hospital envisioned after Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, which devastated the country’s already-fragile medical infrastructure. On Oct. 1, the hospital’s first medical residents—all young Haitian doctors—began hands-on training in pediatrics, general surgery, and internal medicine.
Partners in Health's fourteen new medical residents at the University Hospital in Mirebalais, Haiti
The application process was intensive and merit-based: 238 people applied and took an entrance exam. Of those, 45 were interviewed, and 14 were selected. Class members hail from all over Haiti. Some studied at Haiti’s state medical school or private schools in Port-au-Prince; others went to the Dominican Republic. Some just graduated from medical school and completed their social service year; others have been practicing for a few years. By coincidence, the class is evenly split between men and women.
"The residency program at University Hospital represents the most serious attempt, to my knowledge and during my lifetime, to systematically create a critical mass of Haitian physician specialists that will have the opportunity to be fully useful to all Haitians," said Dr. Pierre Paul, PIH senior advisor. He added that he and his physician colleagues have traditionally questioned the poor outcomes of Haiti's health sector, but now feel questioned themselves about their responsibility to improve health care in Haiti. "University Hospital and its new residency program stand as formidable evidence of the efforts that young Haitian health professionals are making to restore, in a sustainable way, hope and dignity in the future of health in Haiti."
In Haiti, one reason for needless sickness and death is the lack of trained professionals to provide health care. There are only 25 physicians per 100,000 Haitians. The United States has more than tenfold that number: 280 doctors for every 100,000 Americans.
In Haiti, half of doctors are generalists who have completed medical school and a social service year but no specialty training. Each year, about  450  graduating doctors compete for only about 150 residency positions.
Did you read that? 25 doctors per 100,000 Haitians.  
Part of the problem is brain drain.  Doctors aren't as well paid as one might expect, working conditions in hospitals are atrocious, and equipment can be scarce.  Furthermore, it's my understanding from conversations over the past couple of years that since the earthquake it's become even more difficult because many go to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders), where they can get free care. Hardly a surprise.  However, that doesn't help local doctors earn a living. What a conundrum.
Here's what the article has to say about that:
The lack of opportunities leads many young Haitian doctors to seek training and employment in other countries, causing a brain drain in the health workforce. A staggering 80 percent of all physicians trained in Haiti leave within five years of graduation to practice abroad. Of the doctors who stay in Haiti, most practice in Port-au-Prince, which makes it difficult for rural people to access care. The medical education programs at University Hospital aim to slow or even reverse that double brain drain—from rural to Port-au-Prince or abroad—by encouraging talented young doctors to train in Haiti and stay there to practice medicine.
These new opportunities may make a difference.  Perhaps you could offer your prayers for these students, their teachers, the program, and the health care situation in Haiti.
Welcome to Mirebalais
The hospital itself has been newsworthy for a long time.

Here is the link to the information and video I shared with much excitement last year when the hospital was first going up:  
This article is from this summer: 

New hospital in Haiti proves that aid done right can change lives

Partners In Health, along with its sister organization, Zanmi Lasante, works to improve the quality of care in the public health system, collaborating with Haitian communities and the government to train health care workers, develop new services and improve rundown facilities, including building top-quality infrastructure.
In the case of University Hospital, the Haitian government identified the need for a national teaching hospital after the earthquake, and Partners In Health/Zamni Lasante worked alongside the Haitian Ministry of Health to design and construct the $17 million facility, with the help of many in-kind donations. Through a public-private partnership, the government and Partners In Health/Zamni Lasante will contribute to operating costs, and management of the hospital will gradually transition to the government over the next 10 years.
Partners In Health builds open-ended partnerships that don't end when the earthquake donations dry up, offering a greater chance at slow, lasting progress on entrenched problems of poverty and inequality. We call this "accompaniment," to convey a shared journey.
Developing partnerships based on empathy and pragmatic solidarity — not pity or even sympathy — is the essential first step in serving people in need.
Oh, and by the way, they give some interesting details on all that aid money that people wonder about:
It seemed like so much money went to Haiti after the earthquake, but less than 1 percent of the $2.4 billion in immediate earthquake relief went directly to the government of Haiti.
In the longer-term recovery effort, the U.S. development agency USAID spent $1.15 billion, more than half going to American firms in the D.C. area and less than 1 percent to Haitian firms and nonprofits, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research.
Haitians weren't in charge of the projects, but they shoulder the blame for failures. 
Just saying.
But here is something different.  Maybe it will change this story line. It's good to know that something is going right, and more than right. 

Thanks be to God.  

Archbishop Justin Welby on Prince George's christening

baptism water

In a short video released today, the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks on baptism on the occasion of the upcoming baptism of Prince George, Will and Kate's baby.

Kate, Will, baby George
 I love the picture of Will enjoying holding his son.

Some of my favorite lines:

"The great good news is that God doesn't care who we are."

"God's love is offered without qualification, without price, without cost, to all people, in all circumstances, always."

And I love the words he quotes at the end from the Church of Scotland's baptismal liturgy for children.

God's grace is given before we can respond.
For you Jesus Christ came into the world:
for you he lived and showed God's love;
for you he suffered the darkness of Calvary
and cried at the last, 'It is accomplished';
for you he triumphed over death 
and rose in newness of life;
for you he ascended to reign at God's right hand.
All this he did for you,
though you do not know it yet.
And so the word of Scripture is fulfilled:
"We love because God loved us first."

This form of these words comes from the Church of Scotland. 

If  you'd like to read an article on the video, here's one:

The BBC is also covering it:
"The Archbishop of Canterbury has said he hopes the "extraordinary" baptism of Prince George will inspire others to seek the same ceremony."   

Now, for those of you in the know, please enlighten me.  Is there or is there not a difference between baptism and christening?  I had heard they were not interchangeable, but here they seem to be used as synonyms. Anyone?  Is the UK usage different from that of the US (not that I've really heard it used on this side of the pond)?

Friday, October 18, 2013

Mom and Luke

Today is the Feast of St. Luke, who is remembered as a doctor and the author of the Gospel According to St. Luke and its accompanying book, the Acts of the Apostles.  

Given that Luke was a doctor, I am of course thinking of my mother and her need for continued healing following her head-on with the semi in June.  I asked for your prayers then; I ask for more now. She has just come through an emergency surgery on her gall bladder, which had gangrene; once again I am grateful to the excellent medical team at Parkview Medical Center in Fort Wayne, IN.  And I am giving thanks to God for seeing her through yet another challenge. 

Mom is back to not being able to sit up unsupported, but that ability will return in a few weeks, I expect, or even sooner. The brain injury continues to be a challenge, but is also slowly improving. We still hope to have her home before Thanksgiving.  Well.  She's never even seen "home," given that Dad found the place after her accident.  And I'm not there, so should I be saying "we"? Yes, I think so, since I am still one of those doing the hoping.  

I'd like to invite you all to join me not only in prayer for my mother (and father, who has a lot on his shoulders right now and his own health issues), but also in thanksgiving for all those in medical professions who give of themselves for the good of others.  There may be those in it only for the money, but medicine is truly a vocation for those called to the healing arts.  May God bless them richly and give them guidance, wisdom, and skill.

To Bart, Brian, Prem, Rebecca, Katie, Jennifer, Nan, Tim, Hilda, Thamar, Barbara, all my other medical friends, and my own doctors as well as Mom's, thank you for what you do.  

St. Luke, Evangelist and Physician

Almighty God, who inspired your servant Luke the physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in your Church this love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Jesus healing the paralytic

Ecclesiasticus 38:1-4, 6-10, 12-14
Honor physicians for their services,
for the Lord created them;
for their gift of healing comes from the Most High,
and they are rewarded by the king.
The skill of physicians makes them distinguished,
and in the presence of the great they are admired.
The Lord created medicines out of the earth,
and the sensible will not despise them.
And he gave skill to human beings
that he might be glorified in his marvelous works.
By them the physician heals and takes away pain;
the pharmacist makes a mixture from them.
God's works will never be finished;
and from him health spreads over all the earth.
My child, when you are ill, do not delay,
but pray to the Lord, and he will heal you.
Give up your faults and direct your hands rightly,
and cleanse your heart from all sin.
Then give the physician his place, for the Lord created him;
do not let him leave you, for you need him.
There may come a time when recovery lies in the hands of physicians,
for they too pray to the Lord
that he grant them success in diagnosis
and in healing, for the sake of preserving life.

Prayer from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer
Reading from NRSV translation of the Bible (with Apocrypha)
Both via