Dealing with Trauma on the Field


MedSend alum Derek Webber and his family have been on the front lines of healthcare missions for over a decade. In those years of delivering compassionate, whole-person care to under-served patients in hospitals without adequate resources, Derek has had to learn how to keep his eyes focused on Jesus despite the pain he sees daily. 

Recently, a little girl was walking home from her first day back in school. She and some friends tried to dash across the road, and the little girl was hit by car. The driver threw her in the back seat and drove to Chigoria Hospital where Derek serves in the Casualty Department as a Physican Assistant. She had a significant head injury, and the lengthy resuscitative efforts were futile. Her mother arrived at the hospital after her passing, and overcome with grief, stated that the little girl had dreamed the night before that her body had been crushed and she had gone to be with Jesus. 

Shortly after that, a 2-year-old girl who’d been violently sexually assaulted by several boys in her village arrived at the hospital. She was accompanied by her mother, both traumatized, and taken back to the operating theatre where she was prepared for reparative surgery. 

“These are just a couple of the many, many horrific and tragic situations that come through the doors of our hospital on a daily basis,” Derek explains. “I wish we could give you the redemptive endings to these stories, but we often don’t have that luxury. What we are left with is the dissonance that a broken world leaves us, and a longing for the day when God will right the wrongs and end the suffering.”  


The Longevity Project In Action

Being on the front lines of complex traumas in a low-resource resource setting takes its toll. Chigoria Hospital has one trained counselor. ONE. For 300 beds. But the patients are not the only ones suffering, Derek points out. The staff, especially those in the Casualty Department, experience emotional trauma and burnout daily.  

Through MedSend donor support, the Webbers were able to take a significant step to help mitigate this trauma by attending a MedRefresh Retreat. This Longevity Project offering gave them the tools they needed to combat moral injury and burnout, plus tangible ways to lament and establish healthy boundaries that will keep them on the field, he says. 

“Because of this amazing experience, [I] had the opportunity to participate in giving a lecture on Moral Injury, Depression, and Burnout recently, as well as help lead debrief sessions for staff who see [more] suffering than anyone should endure,” Derek shares. “Thank you for your investment. It is helping us to metabolize the trauma and share in the grief together as a community. We truly appreciate what MedSend does for our family and missionary community and want people to know what a vital need you are filling in the livelihood and longevity of the missionaries you support.”  


You can make an impact

Patient stories like these are difficult to share, but they are the reality of life for healthcare missionaries and the communities they serve. The work MedSend Grant Recipients do is vital. The care they provide, and the hope they share with their patients changes lives. Will you partner with them through your financial support and mobilize the ministry of those dedicated to being the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world? 


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