July-August 2018  |  Volume 99, Number 4

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Prayer and Hope in Times of Suffering


One of my close friends suffers from a form of mental illness caused by a chemical imbalance. Agnes (not her real name) resides in an assisted living facility and, with the aid of good psychiatric care and effective medication, functions at a high level. In fact, the facility where she resides recently featured her artwork in a show and held a lovely reception in her honor.

Agnes is a person of deep faith who prays regularly. Prayer seems to be her greatest source of strength and consolation. Still, she wrestles with dark times marked by frustration, anxiety and grief. In the past, the deleterious effects of her illness have caused alienation from some of her children, and she often grieves that loss. Sometimes she asks, "Why do I have to suffer from this illness?" "Why is it that my brain does not work right?" "Why did God allow this to happen to me?"

The Nature and Treatment of Human Suffering

hp1807 The Nature and Treatment of Human Suffering-ciBY: MICHAEL J. BRESCIA, MD
The major problem with our current social structure is the apparent inability to understand the nature of suffering. Suffering is an interrelated system of thoughts and emotions far more complicated than physical pain alone. Suffering involves a complex mix of the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical components that completes a human being.

His Name was Liam

hp1807 His Name Was Liam-ciBY: LISA PICKER
My name is Lisa Picker. I have been a registered medical assistant for 33 years, serving first in pediatrics and now internal medicine. I love my job. It is my ministry. I have a loving husband and two beautiful daughters. This is not an easy story for me to retell. It has many layers, twists and turns, beginning very joyfully. It is graphic at times. For this I will not apologize. It is what we lived, and what he lived.

Building a Program for Trafficking Survivors

hp1807 Building a Program for Trafficking Survivors-ciBY: JENNIFER COX
A young woman who has endured sexual abuse since the age of 5. She is now grown up, but the abuse continues at the hands of more than 20 pimps.

A young boy whose mother sold him, at age 7, to a landlord for sex so she could make the rent payment and they would not end up homeless.

Catholic Church Walks With the Haitian People

The mission of the Catholic Church in Haiti is, first of all, to spread the Good News. The local church walks alongside the Haitian people and gives the Gospel a voice in their daily lives and in the lives of those whom society leaves behind.

Suffering and Happiness: Are They Mutually Exclusive?

Imagine you are in the hospital, seriously ill, and the prognosis is not promising. Your doctor comes in on his daily rounds and asks how you are. You tell him you are frightened, anxious and worried. You let him know that the prospect of death terrifies you because you cannot imagine life separated from those you love. It is, you say, as if your whole world is falling apart. Your doctor listens carefully and, you think, compassionately. You wait for him to console and reassure you. But then he says, "I understand, but are you happy?"

Suffering Is in the Knowing We Hurt

I confess that, as a person who ministers to many people in their suffering, I more often than not desire to be a helper, trying to find the proverbial lifeline to throw to the drowning victim. Seldom do I picture myself in the water with the person. If we were both in the water, I figure, who would save whom?

But, we are in the same water — or in the same boat, I guess. I sometimes think that there are only two kinds of people in the world: those who suffer and those who try desperately to avoid it.

Loneliness: A Global Pandemic

hp1807 Loneliness-A Global Pandemic-ciBY: REV. GERALD A. ARBUCKLE, SM, PhD
Loneliness is an inescapable and painful fact of human experience. St. Teresa of Calcutta believed that loneliness, often accompanied by despair and hopelessness, is the virulent affliction in the West. In the United States, it is estimated that 27-28 percent of the population feel lonely, an increase on the order of 3 to 7 percent over the last 20 years. And among "middle-aged and older Americans, rates of loneliness have jumped from 14 percent in the 1970s to over 40 percent today." In England loneliness is considered so serious that people have created an entire national "Campaign to End Loneliness."

Virtual Reality Therapy Helps Ease Veterans' PTSD

Not all of the injuries suffered by those in the service of our nation are visible. Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the most overlooked ways that the men and women who serve can be injured in the line of duty, and it also is one of the most devastating.

'Helpers' Learn to Connect, Not Control

hp1807 Helpers Learn to Connect Not Control-ciBY: RYAN LIPSCOMB, LPC
At the Saint Alphonsus Center for Global Health and Healing in Boise, Idaho, we serve a large number of families and individuals who have come to the United States through the Department of Health and Human Services' refugee resettlement program. Many have been subjected to significant trauma in their home countries — according to the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs, 44 percent of individuals who have come to this country through U.S. refugee resettlement have been tortured or have close family members who have been tortured.

At Heart, Global Health Draws on Compassion, Solidarity and Justice

hp1807 At Heart Global Health Draws on Compassion Solidarity and Justice-ci BY: DAVID ADDISS, MD, MPH
The mystery of human suffering — and our need to understand and find meaning in it — lies at the heart of religion and is central to the healing professions. Of its many forms, we especially fear the suffering of physical pain, and, in the United States, we spend more than $250 billion dollars a year to avoid or control it. The burden of mental suffering, too, is immense. For example, the World Health Organization now ranks depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide, affecting more than 300 million people.


How to Create an ED to Medical Home Program

In 2014, Savannah, Georgia's St. Joseph's/Candler Healthcare System and Armstrong State University (now Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus) provided pilot funds, undergraduate students as health coaches and graduate student interns to help create anan ED to Medical Home program at St. Joseph's Hospital. Administered by the mission services department, the program was designed to identify uninsured and underinsured patients, connect them with a medical home and thereby help them decrease unnecessary visits to the emergency department.