Advertisement

Burr Ridge doctor helps bring healing to ‘poorest of the poor’

Dr. Gary Lipinski of Burr Ridge has worked in 105-degree heat, trucked up the side of a mountain in a broken-down school bus, treated machete injuries and experienced an earthquake.

And yet he continues to go back to impoverished areas year after year as part of Adventist Midwest Health’s annual mission trip.

“I tell people that once they do it, they will do it time and time again,” Lipinski said. “It’s addicting. A lot of us continue to do it. It’s why we got into medicine, to be able to help people. You are not worrying about insurance. You go and you know you are going to connect with people.”

Lipinski, chief medical officer with Adventist, was one of 36 people representing four Adventist hospitals, including Hinsdale and La Grange Memorial hospitals, who recently went to the Dominican Republican on a week-long medical mission trip. Since 2006, Lipinski, who is based at Hinsdale Hospital, and other Adventist representatives have traveled to Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana and Honduras to provide medical assistance to people who often have not seen a medical professional for years.

Lipinski said because the medical personnel are limited in time and equipment, much of their efforts could be categorized as basic medical care and pain relief.

That doesn’t stop the recipients from showing their gratitude, however. He noted that on January’s Dominican Republic trip, one young, muscular man had been experiencing back pain. Physical therapist Frank Puc had provided some massage and other treatment for the young man.

“He said it was the first time he had been without back pain for 18 months,” Lipinski said, noting that 30 minutes after the man left he returned with a huge fish. Puc and other trip participants had it grilled at a local restaurant for dinner.

Lipinski said the medical missions never get to be old hat and he looks forward to the effort every year. He sees no reason that he will not continue for years to come.

“All the trips are memorable,” Lipinski said. “It is a lot of work and we see so many people.”

Lipinski said he notes the differences in culture when on the trips. On a trip to Honduras he was struck by how young mothers there are, with girls between 13 and 15 having children and by 18, many having two or three kids.

Lipinski said it hits participants at times just how remote medical attention is for many impoverished individuals. Many of the medical personnel wish there was more they could do or that their stay could be longer than a week, he said.

Adventist personnel say the annual trip helps to make a difference.

“Our mission trips allow us to bring physical, spiritual and emotional healing to people who need it so much,” said John Rapp, vice president of ministries and mission for Adventist Midwest Health and coordinator of the annual trip. “Our goal is to serve the poorest of the poor, people who have no access to health care, and if they did, could not afford it.”

0 Comments

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
Advertisement

Modal