Local doctors reflect on healing trip to Jamaica

Local doctors reflect on healing trip to Jamaica
By: CJ Cassidy
JACKSON, Mo. - You wouldn't think a trip to Jamaica would leave you physically and emotionally exhausted, but a group of Heartland doctors say think again.
Doctors and dentists affiliated with the Evangelical United Church of Christ in Cape Girardeau spent about a week reaching out to poor people in Jamaica, helping treat them free of charge. The group just returned, but they're already starting to plan ahead for their next trip two years down the road.
The physicians also want to try to help save the lives of two youngsters they met during their trip. Martino is just one of hundreds of patients the group of doctors and dentists saw during their Jamaica visit.
The young mans crooked, protruding spine, indicates severe scoliosis. "Martino is 16-years-old weighs about 50 pounds, and came to our clinic, with severe problems walking around," Nurse Gwen Maloney says.
Then there's a five year old little girl, who has a severe case of seizures. "She was having seizure after seizure while waiting in line to see us. After she was given medication, she appeared to be seizure free," Maloney says.
Doctors also fashioned a helmet of sorts for her, to prevent the child hitting her head every time she suffers an episode and falls. "The parents are so poor they can't afford medication for them .If they have seizures they can't go to school, so they're lost," Maloney says.
She points out with the proper medical attention, there's a good chance the children could end up with somewhat of a normal life, and Dentist Wayne Lewis who saw hundreds of patients himself agrees. "People were walking sometimes seven or eight miles a day getting there at six in the morning waiting a couple of days to see us," Lewis says.
And even though they're back to their regular jobs in the heartland, the group of healers says they learned an important lesson from the children they came across - how to value what you have. "Martino for example, was so happy just knowing we were trying to help him," Lewis says.
Doctors hope to bring Martino to the US to treat his scoliosis. If you would like to help, call (573) 243-5252. This is the fifth trip the group has made to Jamaica, and say it won't be the last.