Selma* paced back and forth constantly as she watched the team of 16 doctors, nurses, dentists, and volunteers prepare for the medical clinic. It was early in the morning, and the Free Medical Mission Clinic team expected to see about 1,000 people with medical needs that day.
The medical team leader, Dr. Joy Tica, noticed the agitated and irritable woman pacing nearby. When the registration table was finally set up and the clinic opened, she learned why she seemed so troubled. An older woman approached Dr. Joy and explained that Selma, her daughter, had not slept for three nights. “Can you help Selma?” the mother pleaded.
Dr. Joy was concerned about what she could do for Selma. It was apparent she was having some psychological problems. A medical mission clinic would only bring commonly needed medicines such as aspirin or vitamins. They didn’t have medication for depression or other psychological issues. Dr. Joy was used to evaluating patients and meeting their basic needs at a clinic. This patient would require much more than aspirin — that was evident.
As Dr. Joy chatted with Selma and evaluated her, she came to a conclusion. She gave Selma medicine that would help her to sleep because she had not slept for three nights. She also gave Selma some vitamins and asked her to visit the hospital to be further evaluated. That referral was the wisest choice of treatment she could offer the disturbed woman.
Selma went to the hospital on her scheduled day. After her appointment, before she and her mother returned home, they came to Dr. Joy’s office. What a difference Joy saw in Selma. Her eyes were bright and happy. She was smiling. Selma hugged Dr. Joy, and her mother said, “The medicine you gave Selma allowed her to sleep well.”
Dr. Joy explained that when a person has a need that is more than physical, the person is referred to a local pastor for spiritual help. Most of the clinics are sponsored by a church so a pastor is available to meet with the attendees. Selma was referred to a pastor for prayer for her needs.
Dr. Joy said, “I praise the Lord for the wisdom He gives me in situations like this. It was not the medicine she needed, but we were able to at least help.”
Hector*, from the Mangyan tribe, came to the Free Medical Mission Clinic desperate for help. He had suffered second-degree burns on his head, left arm, and chest. He had been treated at the hospital, but after he was discharged the wounds didn’t heal and became infected. Hector could not afford to return to the hospital or purchase medication. When he learned of the free clinic, he came hoping for relief from the pain so he could work again.
One of the doctors saw him and gave him free medication and pain relievers. Mimi, one of the nurses, took the time to debride the wounds. Within two weeks Hector felt healthy enough to return to work.
Romeo*, a man in his mid 30s, came to the Free Medical Mission Clinic with a painful lump on his neck. He had seen different doctors for consultation but could not afford the $150 fee they asked of him, so he endured the pain for years.
The clinic was set up to do circumcisions, but after hearing his desperation to have the lump removed and after examining him, nurse Mimi asked for permission to do the procedure. She was told that if there were enough supplies and it was safe, she could remove the lump.
Before starting the procedure, Mimi prayed with Romeo and shared the Gospel with him. The procedure went smoothly, and Mimi sent Romeo home with medication. Romeo told her, “I felt God’s love.”
A week later, Mimi texted Romeo and asked how he was doing. His wound was healing well, and there were no complications.
These are just a few examples of how the simple medicines and treatments offered in the clinics impact the people who receive them. The purpose of the clinics is to showcase the love of God, provide medical help, and present the Gospel.
You Can Help
Dr. Joy Tica needs your help to keep treating the people she sees at the clinics her ministry team holds. What can you do? You can provide medicine for medical missions teams to distribute at the vital clinics reaching the poorest of the poor in the Philippines.
To read more stories of hope and healing in the Philippines, click here.
*Names changed for security reasons.
Header photo: Dr. Joy Tica attends a patient during a medical missions trip.