It’s easy to love a child.
They are vulnerable. They’re small, often helpless, and totally depend on others for survival.
It’s written in our DNA to help and love children. This instinct transcends time, place and culture. It’s easy to love the children of Haiti.
Each day here at FOTCOH, I see many children–some doing well, some struggling to survive in this resource poor country. Some are reticent during my clinical examination. Others smile and laugh as I make noises and faces (as I do in the States), which is the joy of every pediatrician and which I count as my often hard earned pay.
Today, two children tugged at my heartstrings. Both were malnourished–one due to physiology, the other due to circumstance. The first was a 15-month old with a heart defect and likely Trisomy 21–who barely gained 2lbs in over a year of life. The second child lost her mother at 3 months of age and was being cared for by her 15 year old aunt; that aunt tried to provide as best she could, but the child was severely malnourished.
I gave the best medical treatment that I could here. Yet, my heart was so heavy knowing that, had these children been born in a resource-rich country, their clinical outcome would have likely been markedly different–with pediatric subspecialists able to correct this child’s heart defect and social service organizations able to provide supplemental food for that child before she became malnourished.
I gave them each an extra silly face and an extended hug–my feeble attempt to provide something extra, in the wake of this harsh reality.