"Let My People Go": A Student "Testimonio" About Health Care Reform
Profe's Note: This week's blog post comes from one of my students at UCLA. I'm so proud! In this post, Armando, an aspiring Latino physician, shares his stirring story, or "testimonio," about God's deliverance from a broken healthcare system and gang violence. In his words: "I titled this posting “Let My People Go” because just as God delivered the Israelites from their bondage to the Egyptians God also miraculously saved us from bad doctors and gang violence..." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My name is Armando and I was born and raised in Palo Alto. I completed my primary through high school here and then went on to UCLA in pursuit of becoming a Christian physician. My parents divorced before I started UCLA so it was just me and my father, Armando Sr. My father, Armando, was a very hard working man and sometimes took up to three jobs to provide for us and the expenses of my studies. I was doing well in school and was very excited for the future God had in store for me. Also during that time my health insurance had ended so I was left without insurance.
At the time, I was not concerned at all because I had always been healthy. Then I suffered an injury that left me without the ability to walk. My dad, Armando, had recently been receiving healthcare from the county so I figured I would be in good hands with the county as well. We were thankful for the help we received from the county but our level of care received from our doctors was a nightmare along with the extremely long wait times. I needed an MRI so that the doctors could see what was wrong and the waiting time was four times what the county said it would be. I also had to switch doctors because I had been misdiagnosed and suffered discrimination from my previous specialist. It was after six months from the date of injury until a doctor told me what was wrong. It wasn’t because I had an incurable disease just a simple injury which highlighted the bigger problem which is the difficulty in receiving adequate healthcare with a low income.
From the time I was diagnosed it took an additional two months until I started any form of treatment from my doctor. Also during this time my father broke his back and was hospitalized. My father also experienced a nightmare receiving healthcare for his broken back. We had a Christian doctor from another state look at his MRI and diagnose his specific conditions. My father’s doctor from the county gave a cursory look at my father’s MRI and nearly did a procedure that had a high likelihood of leaving my father paralyzed for life. Instead my father went through the MRI and showed the county doctor point by point what was wrong with himself. The county doctors lacked attention to detail and made lots of mistakes. I also nearly received an incorrect surgery from my county doctor but luckily did not go through with the surgery.
Life was very difficult for both me and my father, Armando, because we both lacked health insurance and had trouble taking care of ourselves. We had no one to help us, we lacked money and no health insurance. We made multiple attempts at reaching out to our local church but they turned a deaf ear when we asked them for help.
The local gang had also taken notice of our sicknesses. They saw an opportunity to take advantage of us since we could barely walk. Each day they came looking for us at our place to hurt us. Also, they started identifying us with gang symbols and what seemed like symbols for death. Once that started getting worse, we contacted police and they said there was nothing they could do to help us. We prayed and God graciously provided a way out.
We praise God every day for the miracle of saving my father, Armando from an attack planned to hurt him but God saved miraculously. I titled this posting “Let My People Go” because just as God delivered the Israelites from their bondage to the Egyptians God also miraculously saved us from bad doctors and gang violence.
Even with all these blessings, for a long time I struggled to forgive those gang members for what they did to us. I never imagined people could be so cruel to single out the weak and try to destroy what’s left of them. As for the doctors, it deeply discouraged us when these county doctors would not seem to care at all about our recovery and would joke around that the only solution to our health problems was death. Also, I was deeply hurt by the cold shoulder we received from a church we had gone to for so many years.
So if you’re reading this I hope instead of getting mad or sad, you remember that God is sovereign. Job was a man who suffered and said the strong words of Job 1:21 “The Lord gave; The Lord took; blessed be the name of The Lord.” God allowed everything that happened to us to happen as he does with other hurting people. He does not cause these incidents but he permits it. So please help others that are going through a difficult time with your prayers and your actions. You might say I can’t do much now but you can and God can use you no matter what age you are. All God needs is a willing heart. I challenge you to be the hands and feet of Christ today and in your future whether you be a doctor, teacher, or a mechanic, God wants to use that. Please remember to put love in action:
9Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality (Romans 12:9-13)
*Names were changed to protect the identity of the individuals mentioned