Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Washing Jean-Baptiste's Feet

Dear Bishop Jenky, Sister Judith Ann, Joe, Gerry, Keith, Paul, and Doug

As you may know, Jean-Baptiste is a patient at Cleveland Clinic. I never
received a meaningful response from any of you regarding helping Jean-
Baptiste when I mailed you repeatedly asking for your help since the
spring of 2005. Many people from Peoria have driven the 8 hours to
Cleveland to visit Jean-Baptiste. They are very sad to see him in the
condition he is in and feel bad that OSF would not accept him or even
answer their e mails regarding Jean-Baptiste.

A couple of days ago my niece and I watched a nurse's aide wash Jean-
Baptiste's feet. He sat in a chair at bedside as she carefully and gently
washed his feet and toes and put cream on them. Most of his life he didn't
even have shoes. She commented how nice his feet were. She doesn't wash
many 21 year old's feet because she cares for Americans who are much older
with this degree of heart failure due to valve dysfunction.

Jean-Baptiste's illiterate mother who lives in a cinder block house
without water or electricity on a mountain side over looking Port-au-
Prince, has lost 3 males in her family including her husband and is about
ready to lose the fourth. We have no way to contact her about her son's

A physician from Doctors Without Borders recently wrote that silence
breeds injustice. I would respectfully advise all of you to travel to
Cleveland with one of the former host families when they visit Jean-
Baptiste and explain to them and to Jean-Baptiste your motivation for your
silence and abandonment of him. Wash his feet, like the nurse's aide did,
and tell him you are sorry.


John Carroll

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr. Carroll,
As you know, we lost Maxime on our floor, and it broke my heart. We adored him, and we are all so thankful you brought him to us. Of course, taking care of him brought tearful memories of Jackson back to me. I go to school full time, but during my winter break, dressed in the CCF green, I spent most of my time in room four, taking care of Jackson. He was so smart, and so kind! But he was so very weak, too.
Reading this, I wonder if it was me ,the nurse-aide, because I bathed him frequently, and I still to this day remember that moment.
I will NEVER forget him. I am haunted by his tired voice, when one day towards the end of my week he asked me, "why didn't you brush my teeth?"
I did not realise that he no longer had the strength to do it himself.
So I got out the toothpaste and brush, and I spoke to him gently as I brushed his beautiful teeth.
I will always remember how he'd sit up and listen to his CD walkman, and read when he had the strength.
I feel very blessed that you brought him to us. I am still working there, but as a nurse trainee, still in school, and of course, it is my winter break and I got to meet Max.
His hard-boiled eggs were still in the hallway fridge. No one had the heart to throw them out last time I checked.
His smile and his sense of humour will live with us. I know I will never forget him. Or Jackson.

Thank you for bringing him to us.