It’s quite normal for there to be “extra” people in an exam room during an appointment. It would not be uncommon for you to find in one of our 8 by 10 foot exam rooms a provider, a student, a translator, the patient, and probably one or two family members – not to mention an exam table. To say the least, it’s not the setting that you and I would likely encounter at our annual physical.
But even dealing with this reality on a daily basis, there are still events that catch us a bit off guard. I want to share one such recent story with you.
Isabel, a patient with diabetes, made an appointment with us and when she arrived a friend, and fellow patient of Good Samaritan – Maria, was with her. Isabel had told Maria that her diabetes was out of control, and that she needed Maria’s support during her doctors visit.
The two entered an exam room, joined by a translator and provider. Isabel, speaking English because she knows Maria only speaks Spanish, explained to the provider and translator that the reason for her making an appointment was not, in fact, due to her diabetes – nor had she invited Maria along for emotional or physical support.
Quite the opposite was true…
Knowing that her friend would not understand, Isabel explained to her provider and translator that Maria’s son had recently been killed in Mexico. Isabel had been given the information in English, and tasked with telling her friend about the painful loss. But how do you tell a friend that her son has tragically died?
Confused about how to share this painful news with Maria, Isabel turned to Good Samaritan – a place where both she and Maria had received treatment for physical ailments. Today, the care administered would be emotional and spiritual rather than physical. Having shared the circumstances for the visit with the provider and translator, the four women prayed together and then shared with Maria the news of her son’s passing — the true reason for the visit to Good Samaritan. That it was Isabel who was truly playing the role of the supportive and loving friend on that afternoon.
In sharing this story with me, our translator said “All the Glory is to God…the community looks at us as a place of comfort and shelter in the midst of their most difficult situations.”
You may have heard me mention before that the most common miracle Jesus performs in scripture is that of physical healing. But if you look at His miracles – even those not including physical healing – you’ll see a distinct trend. Jesus meets immediate needs in the lives of those he encounters. Be it hunger, health, eye sight, or even the grief of one having lost a child like Jairus in Matthew 9, Jesus addressed the pressing needs of those to whom He ministered.
The Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett is a healthcare facility, but we are not just in the healthcare business, we are in the truth-speaking business. Each patient who walks through our doors may arrive with a need to be met — often physical healing. But, each one leaves having had the truth of Christ shared with them. As with Isabel and Maria, the healthcare may get folks through the door but it’s the ministry and truth of Jesus that truly changes lives.
This is the call that we have received: “to heal the sick who are there and tell them the kingdom of God has come near.” (Luke 10:9), and we fulfill that call one patient at a time.