In the intense and heated debate over health care I found this story compelling and instructive. A group that provides health care for rural, impoverished parts of the world, has come to LA and is overwhelmed. The LA Times reports:
A homeless man spent the night camped outside the Forum, hoping to finally get glasses to help him see better. An unemployed grocery clerk waited in desperate need of root canal surgery. A former auto mechanic came with an aching back.
One by one, about 1,500 people made their way through the Inglewood sports arena, where dozens of volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses and other healthcare professionals are providing free medical services this week.
Remote Area Medical Foundation is a trailer-equipped service that has staged health clinics in rural parts of the United States, Mexico and South America. It brought its health camp to urban Los Angeles County on Tuesday to begin an eight-day stint that the group’s officials described as its first foray into a major urban setting.
Today the scene has repeated itself and they have put out a call for many doctors and dentists, because the organizers don’t have enough docs on hand to treat all the people that need help.
Preserving life a Jewish value, a mitzvah of the highest order that over-rides all other laws of the Torah. Healing the sick is also a mitzvah, and we live in a society that is full of sick people that cannot afford treatment. There are many who might say, “they have brought these troubles on themselves through poor health care and lifestyle,” and in many cases this may be true. Does that mean that we let them sit and rot on the sidewalk?
The true measure of our society in Jewish terms is how we deal with those that are less fortunate, those on hard times, those that need a hand, those that cannot fend for themselves. Millions of people in this country lack adequate medical care and preserving the status quo is not an option.
Is what is passing through the halls of Congress the answer? I don’t know. Is this a major Jewish problem? Yes. And we need to fix it right now.
If you know any Jewish doctors in the LA area – tell them to head on over to the Forum and participate in the largest free medical clinic in LA history. It’s a mitzvah. Or, if you wish, Guide To Healthcare Schools can help you find classes to get health education and be part of the solution!