TIMA Doctor Delivers Life-Changing House Calls to Disabled Ecuadorian Residents

TIMA  |  January 29, 2019

In this day and age, it is not typical to see doctors who make house calls. However, when it comes to Tzu Chi International Medical Association (TIMA) doctors, it is part of the important and compassionate care they provide to those needing it most, especially people living with disabilities. It all goes hand in hand with the teachings of Dharma Master Cheng Yen’s whose belief is in true compassion that means action that relieves the suffering of others.

Recently Dr. Cheung Tung, a Tzu Chi volunteer doctor, visited the remote area of Manabi, Ecuador, for the purpose of providing care to disabled people who are unable to get to the clinic.

On one particular day, Dr. Tung visited with two patients, the first being an elderly man with many medical issues, including congestive heart failure, trouble breathing and severe knee pain.

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Upon arriving at the home of the underprivileged man who is bedridden and lives with family in a very remote area, Dr. Tung’s compassion is evident. He not only treated the patient with the utmost respect but with genuine concern as well. He asked the man’s family about his  condition.

During the exam, Dr. Tung  also detected a bad cough in the man. He provided both an oral pain medication, and an injection to relieve the man’s knee pain. The injection may last for months.

They have a problem with money—difficulty buying certain medicines. I do not know if the pain will prevent him from walking, but at least I want to reduce his suffering from his pain.

The next patient on Dr. Tung’s schedule was an elderly woman, also suffering with severe knee pain. Dr. Tung saw that the woman could stand, and he believed that proper treatment and a reduction in pain could enable the woman to become mobile as well as functional on a daily basis. As he did with the elderly man, he decided on an injection to relieve the woman’s pain.

According to Dr. Tung, oftentimes family caretakers are not acknowledged for all they do for the patient even though they also suffer. Their efforts should never go unnoticed, because what they do for the patient is very important.

We tell them they do a good job. We particularly pay attention to them so they don’t feel ignored...They are the ones feeling really guilty and taking on a lot of unnecessary pressure. We hope that in order to take care of the patient better, we also need to pay attention to the caregiver.

Dr. Tung always speaks with the patients and families as if he is speaking with his own family and explains treatment. He also praises the family members, showing that they too are an important part of the healing process.