Jerry’s Surgery

[Posted by Sylvia Broome, member of the Church on the Street community and director of women’s and human trafficking ministries]

My daughter had surgery in May. I was impressed by the gentle and reassuring attention from the nurses, the thorough conversation with the doctor prior to the surgery, and the visit from the anesthesiologist who carefully took her history.

After the surgery, she had multiple doses of pain medicine, cold compresses on her eyes for comfort, and frequent changes of bandages. The doctor stopped in to check on her. She stayed for several hours in recovery since she was so groggy from the anesthesia. When she was ready to go home, she was gently helped into the car by the nurse. The care she received was like a five star spa.

Jerry, a homeless member of our community, also had surgery in May. Jerry’s surgery was on both eyelids. He was not told prior to the surgery that he would need someone to help him with a ride after the surgery. Because of this, he had not made arrangements to get back to the facility where he was staying.

After the surgery was over he called me and said “I can’t see.” I drove to the hospital to pick him up and found him sitting alone on a wall outside of the hospital. He had been released with both eyes swollen shut, groggy and disoriented from the anesthesia. He could barely walk and needed two people to help him get into the car.

How different it is to have surgery when you are poor, homeless and uninsured.

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