Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cairo, Egypt..."Garbage City"

Surrounded by 15 foot walls isolated from the rest of the world, 200,000 families making up a population of 1 million, live in garbage. Ezbet El Nakhel is "Garbage City".

The smell is powerful, the sights dramatic. Flies are everywhere, animals eating garbage, donkeys pulling carts of loaded garbage, children playing in garbage, houses filled with garbage, and streets with raw sewage.

And in the midst of all this is "Joy School", a Mission of Mercy safe haven for children. That is where we are building our next medical clinic: on the 4th floor. That is where I am going in a week and a half to buy the medicines, the medical equipment, assess the construction of the clinic, and meet with my 2 brothers, Peter Omran and Nabil Farouk. Once again, He has spoken, and we obey. We are moving quickly to get this all done: a Medical Mercy team leaves the US on Feb. 13th for our first medical clinic in Egypt.

Can it be done? Will it be ready? Will we be ready? Go ahead....try and stop us.

In all things, give thanks,


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

To care..

Go to Teresa's and Daran's blog ( and read about "Comfort care vs. Heroic care". Then come back here. Their insight leaves me humbled. I deal with the issues of "care" everyday, both comfort care and heoic care. Practicing pediatric critical care medicine embraces both. Children are admitted who are trying to die, or will die. Over the past 26 years or so of practicing critical care medicine, I have learned that "caring" is more than we give, and less than what patients receive. I am a medical ethicist, and deal with the issues of " care" over "cure", and life over death everday and here is what I've found: ask the following questions, and you'll begin to see what "caring" means:

1. do we "care" or "cure"?
2. are we treating the "patient" or the "disease"?
3. do we have a "contract" or a "covenant" with our patients?
4. is the technology we use a "necessity" or a "convenience"?

If we "care" rather than "cure", if we treat the "patient" (the person) and not the "disease", if we have a "covenant" and not a "contract" with our patients, and if we use technology because it is "necessary" for the patient, and not a "convenience" for us (we can attend to other things, personal things, "me" things, rather than being with the patient) then "caring" becomes central in our realtionship: it's about "who", not about "what".

Any one can "take care of " somebody: it's mechanics. But to "care about" and to "care for" somebody, takes self-sacrifice and intent to be there for someone regardless. "Heroic care" is that very "care" that Teresa and Daran are talking about: caring without bounds, loving always, giving freely. And Lord knows, they do it well...

In all things, give thanks,