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I Am the Rich Young Ruler

I spent most of the night yesterday at Parkland Hospital, the county hospital where the majority of the poor and uninsured go when they are sick or injured. My friend works as an OT at Parkland in the burn unit. She has been experiencing some neurological abnormalities so she went to the ER to be seen by a Parkland Neurologist. Though she was enjoying some personal benefits of being a Parkland Employee, we still had to pass through a sea of people to find her in one of the hundreds of make-shift beds lined up in the hall. There was not one square foot that did not have the word “patient” above a bed or chair in the hall. The rooms were reserved for those who needed special monitoring or those who had been admitted with traumatic injuries.

The large waiting room was full of people who knew they would be waiting for hours on end because they were down the line in the triage system. I was in the elevator with one man who said he had been up 24 hours and couldn’t wait any longer so he was going home to sleep and return the next morning. Blood pressure cuffs were handed out as those waiting had their vitals checked to see if they needed to be moved up in the line.

As a former, middle class, white female I tried to imagine being down there with one of my grandchildren or being indigent with no strings to pull and no power to take control of my health care. I saw first hand what it would be like to be at the mercy of the system. My nice north Dallas doctor’s office with nice furniture and a nice receptionist is like going to the doctor at the Ritz. And my insurance picks up the bill!

Today I am embarrassed to acknowledge that I live in an isolated world. I don’t have to face people who can’t pay their bills. I don’t have to see people who are powerless over their basic needs. I don’t see people who were born into a system of poverty with very little chance of breaking free. I don’t see people who are sick and have to walk or find public transportation to a crowded ER. I don’t see anything but my comfortable home, with my comfortable life style and all of the “things” I use to keep me busy and put me in situations where I don’t have to see. God forgive me for not doing anything for people in my community who need my help. Surely, this is what Jesus calls us to do. But I’ve become the rich young ruler.
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Appendix c interpersonal analyses their development, which was 135.

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