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Father, daughter spread health care, word of Jesus

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A chance to help impoverished people both medically and spiritually brought Dr. Ed McBride and daughter Shannon to the Dominican Republic this summer.

The father-daughter duo, along with 30 others, spent a week helping more than 800 patients in early July.

Shannon, a recent Rome High School graduate, figured out a way she and her dad could go on a mission trip together.

McBride, Harbin Clinic’s chief medical officer, is a member of the Christian Medical and Dental Association, which has a nonprofit ministry called Global health Outreach.

After doing some research, Shannon found a medical mission trip with GHO to the Dominican Republic.

On June 18, they embarked with a team of 32 people to the Dominican Republic.

The mission trip team consisted of 10 physicians, three pharmacists, 13 first-year and second-year medical school students, two high school students and a few non-medical individuals.

Throughout their trip, they provided eye, dental, medical and pharmaceutical services through a mobile mass unit.

The team was flexible in how they set up their clinic, setting up as either a tent or occupying a local school or church building.

“The size of our tent space/school room was probably no larger than two office-sized rooms combined,” said McBride.

Helping a multitude of patients

In only four clinic days the team was able to meet each individual’s need as best as they could for 847 individuals.

“Having physicians from different specialties really helped the team care completely for the patients,” said McBride.

“I treated one patient who had a heart condition that would normally require hospitalization. The patient also had diabetes, atrial fibrillation, heart failure and was overweight, short of breath and fatigued,” McBride said. “I had to do my best to examine, diagnose and treat him without an EKG.”

The team encountered other technological barriers throughout their trips with many patients in need of equipment to produce scans, X-rays and other diagnostic tests. The team made it work through an effort between their clinic, local pharmacies and physicians to bring the necessary medical care to patients.

“There is a huge need for medical care in this part of the world, and I wanted to be able to meet that need with not only my experience and skills, but that of the whole team and partnering organizations for a holistic effort,” said McBride.

Prayers for patients

Because Shannon plans to work with missions in the future, she not only shadowed physicians, checked blood pressure and assisted with the eye care services — she also ministered to patients.

“It was a joy to be able to talk with them about Jesus,” Shannon said.

“It helps to be able to build a relationship with the patients by attending to their medical needs, to talk about their religious beliefs and views on eternal life in a comfortable setting,” says McBride.

Shannon and her twin sister have been making shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, an initiative within Samaritan’s Purse that aims to provide needy children with a Christmas shoe box, for many years. Before the trip to Hato Mayor, Shannon hoped she would be able to personally take some boxes to deliver to the children there.

Oasis Church received a shipment of Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes from Samaritan’s Purse the same week Shannon was there, and she was able to assist in giving boxes to the children.

“While I didn’t get to make the box myself and give it to the children, it brought me such joy to be able to give them a shoe box nonetheless,” said Shannon. “The children were so happy.”

Along with the shoe boxes she helped distribute, Shannon also brought other items to hand out.

“One day I handed out T-shirts I had brought from home to children as they came running to me,” said Shannon. “Although my contribution might seem small, it still made me happy knowing I could provide some sort of clothing for those who don’t have that much, or any at all.”

Shannon said some of the most memorable and rewarding parts of the trip were the times she spent playing with the children. Shannon split her days working in the mornings until lunch at the clinic, and playing soccer and having fun with the children in the afternoons.

“Their faith and eternal purpose was far more important than material things, and I could see that in the people,” said Shannon.