By Brad Phillips
Walking the corridors of Mother of Mercy Hospital was an incredibly humbling experience.
At the height of the dry season, when respiratory and malaria cases are at their lowest, the hospital was still busy with more than 400 patients. It is the only hospital in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, which is home to more than a million besieged residents.
And at the helm of this hospital is a single donor — but to call him a doctor may grossly underestimate the incredible work of Tom Catena. Dr. Tom is from Upstate New York and has served Mother of Mercy for nearly five years. When war broke out in the Nuba Mountains in 2011, all western NGO’s pulled their expat staff out of the area… but Dr. Tom stayed behind. And he’s still there.
We walked from bed-to-bed, Dr. Tom explaining to me the conditions of each patient. “This lady had a C-section. This child has malaria. This boy has tuberculosis. This man has cancer, and I just gave him some chemo. This woman suffered severe burns from an Antonov bombing. This soldier lost his right leg….”
In addition to performing complex surgeries, Dr. Tom must deal with the challenges of staffing a hospital in a war zone. But Dr. Tom presses on. He doesn’t stop. He’s driven by love for the weak and defenseless. He is an undisputed and unsung hero of the Nuba Mountains, responsible for saving literally tens of thousands of lives.
These are the people I get to work with. These are the people I want to support. And thanks to your sacrificial giving to PPF, we can help heroes like Dr. Tom get the medicine he needs to fuel his ministry of mercy.
God bless men like Dr. Tom Catena and the heroic staff of Mother of Mercy Hospital in Southern Kordofan State, Sudan.