The picture you’re looking at is of us at the Christy Award ceremony where we were blessed to win the Christy Award for one of our novels. It was a fun night I just came across the picture and enjoyed the memories so much that I thought I’d share. It has little to do with my story today except that the man you see in this picture has been caught up in the tragedy below, and was one of the doctors who worked at this hospital in question.
You might have read one or two of our novels. We set them, for the most part, in southern Missouri because that’s where we live. That’s where my story takes us today, and this story will likely end up in a novel before long.
Once upon a time there was a tiny hospital in the middle of a summer resort area in southern Missouri. This little hospital was the only facility in the center of a 120 mile radius, and from the beginning of trout season to the end of bow season–most of the year–outdoorsmen and campers, river floaters and hikers made great use of this wonderful outdoor wilderness.
They also made use of the hospital when fishhooks got caught in hands or other areas of the anatomy, when bows hit the wrong mark, when bullets flew wild, when off-road-vehicles ended up in ravines. This hospital was literally a lifesaver for the residents of this area and those thousands who came to this secluded paradise every year.
Unfortunately, a big, evil entity (we’ll call it the wolf) that controlled this hospital for some years defrauded the government by overcharging for Medicaid patients. As it happens, some evil wolves get into trouble financially, and this is what happened to the owners of the hospital–er, the wolves. They were bought out by a kinder, more generous entity for many millions of dollars to get them out of the debt they’d dug themselves into.
Problem solved, right?
It didn’t happen that way. The agency that was defrauded (we’ll call this agency the pig for this story, and you’ll see why) decided they needed more money to pay for the fraudulent activities of the wolf. But the wolf had declared bankruptcy, and the pig could not get its money back from the wolf. One would have expected the pig to eat its losses, right? That’s what pigs do–they eat.
Wrong. The pig attacked the kinder, more generous entity, demanding they pay for the back taxes of the wolf, from whom this entity had purchased the hospital system, and they attacked it by demanding millions of dollars this entity didn’t have. They had to close the doors to this hospital as well as the clinic in this same area. Medical care will be very scarce anywhere within this area.
So now this little hospital that has removed fishhooks, repaired broken bones, and saved lives in the middle of the wilderness area every year will no longer have its doors open. Those thousands of people who come from all over the state–and even other parts of the country every year–will no longer have a hospital nearby to take care of their illnesses and injuries. Lives will be lost and hospitals much farther away will be overloaded by patients who cannot find help closer–if they make it there alive.
Do you see a happy ending to this? Or do you see more heartache? I always like happy endings in my books, so when I write my novel about this, there will be one. In reality? I don’t know. It doesn’t look good. Endings in real life aren’t always happy. Lives are lost because of bureaucratic idiocy and greed.
The only moral I can find for this story in this particular blog is that I hope someone learns from it, and that we will all be reminded that greed in any area is the act of serving another god besides the real One. We cannot serve God and money, as the Bible says.
Maybe we cannot help these people in need of a hospital, but we can live our lives in ways that seek the best for others as much as we seek the best for ourselves. Maybe we can learn to seek God’s will in our situations, our decisions, our treatment of others, instead of our own will. No matter the cost, it can’t be as high as the price God paid for us.