Wishing all of you a blessed and joyful Advent!

As a member of the BVM Board, I would like to give all of you who support the Mother of Mercy Free Medical Clinic an update.

I spoke with Alexandra this past week. Every time we talk, I come away reinvigorated and amazed and excited about all that is taking place here.

The most exciting news Alexandra had to share is that a new doctor has volunteered so general practice medical care is now being offered on Thursdays as well. (Previously, Thursdays were for labs, dietician, chiropractics, etc.). Medical care will now be provided 4 days a week.

Her greatest need right now is funding for prenatal care. No one anticipated the cost being as great as it is, simply because no one realized that the majority (roughly 70%) of the pregnancies would be high-risk. This is due to many factors such as waiting too long for prenatal care, poor quality food (sometimes through necessity, sometimes through miseducation or ignorance), over work/under activity (both exist prevalently), and others. A lot of gestational diabetes develops, keeping our dietitian, Anne Geiran, busy. There is so much gestational diabetes that pregnant moms are now required to attend a class on prevention of it. (There were fifteen women in the class last week).

Much of the testing is able to be done in-house, holding down costs considerably. Also, Quest Diagnostics has been very generous in discounting fees. Alexandra continues to negotiate with them, and they keep reducing their fees for Clinic patients (but these numbers have to be kept quiet so non-clinic customers don’t protest!). She is also negotiating with LabCorp; because many of the Clinic doctors already work with them, a relationship with LabCorp will facilitate care.

All in all, I am amazed by the willingness of so many in the medical community to do and give. Alexandra has a beautiful willingness to just keep asking for help for the people being served – and the response is wonderful to witness.
In addition to all of this testing, many women also need to be sent for an anatomy scan for the baby and/or see a Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist. We are fortunate to have secured the services of a doctor, a past co-worker of our OB, who has been most generous – he charges only $275 for the scan, the consult, and a follow up appointment. Normally, the scan alone is $500. Nonetheless, many simply cannot pay that fee. Then there are those who need further help (like the woman who recently found out that her baby needs heart surgery immediately after birth).

Alexandra also had the idea, which I think is wonderful, of asking BVM members to be a prayer partner for the women and babies who are cared for at he clinic. She really believes that the work they do needs more prayer support, in a personal way – and that the women need prayer support in addition to the physical support they receive.

The clinic has approval for a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament! Father Mauricio has people donating time and installing marble flooring, wood paneling, etc., to transform a room into a beautiful Oratory and a fitting place for Our Lord. What a treasure for the volunteers and workers at the Clinic. The work is emotionally draining as well rewarding, and prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament will be a mainstay of their efforts.

As we reach the end of the year, I appeal to everyone who can do so, to add an extra $275 to your giving, or find a friend who is not a member who would be willing to give this amount – to pay for one baby’s anatomy scan. Please contact Alexandra if you can be a prayer partner for one of the moms/babies under care. Her email is Alexandra.Luevano@ccda.net or phone 703-335-2779 ext. 15.

I will leave you with a super amazing number. As of last week the Clinic has taken care of 184 moms and babies in 2019!

Keep up the good work. The impact on each life is beautiful to see!

Paula O’Keefe

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