Thursday, June 5, 2008

On Being Grateful

I saw a documentary last night called Motherland Afghanistan. It was about a OB/Gyn of Afghan descent who travels to Afghanistan periodically to help out with medical care there. Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. The movie took was filmed in 2003, one year after the U.S. invasion of AFghanistan.

ALthough the hospital had received funding the conditions there (and this is in KAbul) were appalling. The patients have to buy their own sutures, needles, i.v.'s, and food for their operations. One patient had a tear from her rectum to her vagina and while they were sewing her up the sutures kept breaking because they were too cheap. Another woman lost her baby after she'd been in labor three days and someone in her village gave her a shot of something. She then developed a hole in her bladder that leaked urine into her vagina and down her legs. ANother woman had her baby at 28 weeks and there she was holding it until it died two days later. One woman had a severe case of preeclampsia and then was beaten because her relatives thought her seizures were caused by demon possession. Even the doctor was horrified and couldn't even speak. I can now understand why my students don't want to return to their own country. It's admirable that this doctor who is used to the comforts of American life leaves his home in the U.S. to travel to this desolate and depressing place. He continues to go to train other doctors there to carry on.

I have so much to be grateful for here in this country. Yes, medical care is expensive but it's the best in the world. There are hospitals that treat you even if you can't pay. That isn't the case elsewhere in the world. We have so much here in the U.S. I just can't believe the way it is in other countries.

1 comment:

Jim Rooks said...

It's very true, none of us in the USA have anything to whine about. Dad