Day 2 in Cuba
WOW….. What an incredible day! As promised, we had a day full of meetings. Selfless servanthood was displayed today through the words and actions of Dr. Kovach and Dr. Copeland as we meet with government officials and hospital staff. Here are a few words from Dr. Copeland about today:
“Havana is caliente but as always bustling. Things seem to be changing a bit. Many of the buildings in Old Havana continue to deteriorate but am seeing some that were pressure washed with repairs being made. Hopefully many of these will be preserved. My first visit, two years ago, to the hospital found the physicians and government very skeptical. This trip has been extremely fruitful.
Today it was really difficult to see our patient, a vibrant teenager, able to ambulate only with a crutch. Otico Fernandez is 17 years old and the son of Otoneil Fernandez. He is our in-country coordinator and one if the finest men I’ve had the privilege to call a friend. Otico is an extremely well recognized artist here in Cuba. His father has shown me clips from Cuban TV of award ceremonies recognizing his work. Otico has sickle cell disease, an illness seen most often in individuals of African descent. This can cause a severe anemia as well complications of bones………thus the destruction of his femoral head (hip joint).
Some other good things that resulted from our meeting: they would welcome pediatric orthopedic surgeons we can identify in the states to come to their hospital for educational assistance. They are also furnishing us a wish list of things much needed, yet very basic, for the OR. Since William Soler Hospital renders care for all the children in Cuba who require surgery to repair fractures, we have great hope that we can assist in getting more supplies to them!”
Since the beginning of our work here in Cuba I’ve heard things like… “That can’t be done”… “No one is doing that”… “I can’t believe you’re doing that type of stuff in Cuba”! I’ve heard similar statements from folks in both countries. I must admit that at times I find myself thinking just for a second some of those same thoughts!
Why are we able to do what we are doing in Cuba?
I believe the simplest answer is that we are being as transparent as we can. Our desire to help others in need comes from the core of our hearts and we expect nothing in return.
To me that’s what it truly means to serve others.
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