On the heels of a very difficult week in the hospital, I was making my usual rounds. Baby Beniam was a one-month-old boy who had infantile pyloric stenosis and had received a lifesaving operation at our hospital by our general surgery team. He was a few days post-op and still not tolerating all of his feeds. Hid dad approached me and said they could not afford any more medical care because they had already spent all they had on this boy’s life.
As the head of the pediatric department, this is the hardest thing I face, and it happens regularly. The baby still needed hospitalization to complete his antibiotics, receive a blood transfusion, and be fed enough in order to gain weight. If I let him go home, he would get sick, dehydrated and die, which would be a waste of the money the family had already spent and the care we had already worked so hard to give. I consulted the hospital’s Benevolence Fund Committee, and we decided the fund could cover the rest of the patient’s hospital bills so that the family wouldn’t have to spend any more money until their bus ride home.
The remainder of the baby’s hospital course was relatively uncomplicated, and on the day of discharge the dad stopped me in my tracks to declare publicly his appreciation for this hospital and to tell me his backstory. Prior to coming to SCH, the father had taken his newborn son to a nearby hospital where he was told to take the baby home to die because there was nothing that could be done. As he carried his son back to the bus station – tired, limp and dehydrated – the father remembered the wonderful care he himself had received at Soddo Christian Hospital a few years ago. At that time, the father thought he was going to die of tuberculosis, but was treated with compassionate care at SCH and now feels like a new man. He figured if the hospital had helped him when he was desperately ill, then for sure they could help his son.
He told me, “I thought I was going to be taking home a dead son, and now I am bringing him home alive and well. May God bless this hospital!”
This reminds me of Luke 15:24 in the parable of the prodigal son, when the father says, “’For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
Isn’t this what God wants for all of us, to recognize our inability to heal ourselves, to trust Him, and to let Him take us from death to life? This child’s story encouraged me to think beyond the physical to the spiritual lessons God is teaching me each and every day; to walk in obedience as much as I am able, and when I can’t walk, to let my father carry me and trust His good plans, his redemption and his desire for life.