When my phone buzzes late at night, my first impulse is to wonder what’s wrong.
Among the various roles that Blue Dragon plays in Vietnam, we are first and foremost a care provider to children with very special needs. It would be a rare week that went by without some emergency popping up, whether it’s one of our kids getting into trouble with the law, or a plea for help from a family whose child has gone missing.
A late night call this week was to inform me that one of our boys, Do, was in an accident on the street and needed urgent medical attention. He’s fine now – the story ends well! – but he suffered a concussion and for a time was non-responsive. Do was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, and my team called me to let me know what was happening.
Medical care in public Vietnamese hospitals is… well, not always of the highest standard. Rooms can be significantly overcrowded, and it’s not unusual to see two patients on the same bed. Family members must look after their relatives in hospital, and that includes sleeping there over night – often on the floor beneath the bed. With the culture of respect for people in certain positions, people will rarely ask a doctor to explain a decision or provide information; what the doctor says is law, and to maintain that air of superiority doctors often won’t ask anything themselves or let patients know what’s happening.
So when one of our kids lands in hospital, we know it will take some determination and focus to ensure they are getting looked after properly. Knowing that Do had a head injury made this situation even more serious.
One of the things I love about Blue Dragon is the way everybody cares; not just in words or grand statements, but in real actions. By the time I got to the hospital, 3 social workers were there, including one of my longest serving team members, and one of the older teens was there as well. The doctors sure knew that Do had an army of supporters, and we made certain he received the care he needed.
Every child needs to have an army of supporters; or to borrow a line from Philps and Lahutsky, every child needs to be the centre of somebody’s universe.
Imagine if we could set that as our standard for every person we met: not just to care, but to give exceptional care, the same care we would demand for ourselves and for our family. Every child, and indeed every person, hopes for and deserves no less.
Do is just about back to normal now; he’s his usual smiling self once again. He knows he is the centre of our universe; and not just during a crisis, but every day.
Read more of Michael’s blog here.