Summer 2018 Newsletter
Greetings with Gratitude

As I walk the hallways at Mercy, I am constantly reminded of God’s presence. Not only because of our morning prayer and for the fact that we do as God asks of us by loving our neighbor and not turning anyone away, but simply because it is written on our walls! From the mission statement in our lobby areas to the Bible verses strategically placed throughout our buildings, it’s difficult to forget that God is in this place.

In addition to the words painted on our walls, we focus on specific Bible verses each month as a staff. The verses for June are Matthew 13:45-46, the Parable of the Pearl.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”

Pretty clear cut – the pearl represents the extraordinary value of the Kingdom of Heaven. At Mercy, we have the occasion to share this with those who walk through our doors, in word but more often in deed. And from time to time we have the opportunity to share the "pearl" with those outside our walls.

Our own Dr. Alex Brunner went on a medical mission trip to Peru earlier this year. He had this very opportunity – to care for a woman dying from cancer and to talk about the Gospel with the patient and her husband. (I've asked him to share a little about his experience with you, so please keep reading below!)

At our recent Staff Appreciation Day, we discussed this parable and what the pearl represents. We gave a pearl to each of our employees as a reminder of the gift of salvation. Also, pearls are said to promote faith, loyalty and truth, which are values we desire to share with all our patients, so the pearl serves as a reminder for that, too.

We have been given a wonderful opportunity here at Mercy! To care for those who need healthcare, and through that to show the love and compassion of our Savior and, when the timing is right, to share the good news of eternal life.

We are truly doing the work of the Lord, and we hope our friends see it, too!

With a grateful heart,

Cindy Siler, CEO


P.S. Stacie Lukasiak, the mother of two Mercy pediatric patients, was kind enough to talk about her experience with her children, Elle and Kate. Hearing the great things she has to say about our staff and services is a much needed "pearl." Please listen to her story!
Calling All Runners & Walkers! Families & Businesses! Registration is Now Open for the 40th Annual Franklin Classic

5K, 10K, 1K Kids Run to be Held Labor Day, Sept. 3, in Downtown Franklin

For 40 years, thousands of people have gathered in downtown Franklin on Labor Day to run for a good cause. Since 1999, the Franklin Classic has been the primary fundraiser for Mercy Community Healthcare.

The 40th Annual Franklin Classic presented by Silver Sneakers by Tivity Health is set for Labor Day (Monday, September 3) in downtown Franklin. Registration is now open at FranklinClassic.org

With a goal of 4,000 runners for the anniversary event, local businesses, churches, clubs, schools and other organizations are encouraged to create teams to run (or walk) the races.

"Every year, we see people who achieve personal health and fitness goals, having worked toward this race for months. It's rewarding for us to have played a part in someone's life in that way – and to then use the proceeds to be a blessing in other people's lives by providing access to quality healthcare," said Cindy Siler, CEO.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available, and more than 100 volunteers are needed for the event. Visit FranklinClassic.org or email us at marketing@mercytn.org for more information about either of these opportunities.
Field Notes from Peru
by Dr. Alex Brunner, Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Alex Brunner; his wife, Laura; and their six children visited Peru earlier this year. They go about every three years, typically for about one month. Mercy is very supportive of this mission, and the Brunners hope to take staff with them on the next trip in 2020.
When you are the on-call physician, you never know what you will see. Severe pulmonary hemorrhage, acute organophosphate poisoning, a dislocated shoulder and appendicitis are a few of the recent diagnoses. One of my call nights during our family’s most recent trip back to Hospital Diospi Suyana in Curahuasi, Peru, afforded me with a unique opportunity to share the hope of the Gospel.
 
This particular night, I had a woman in her early 50s who presented with the non-specific complaints of malaise and vomiting. A few minutes into the initial assessment, she said, "By the way, I was seen a year ago and was told that I had cancer. I really didn't feel that bad, and it was so very expensive all of the treatments that they recommended, so I just went home."
 
Now, let's pause right here. This is something I have encountered far more than I wish while working in Peru. Patients are diagnosed with cancer, and the treatment recommended requires a trip to the capital city of Lima for very expensive chemo and surgery. When you are a subsistence farmer in the remote highlands of the Andes Mountains, you just don't have the option of receiving treatment. You have a family to feed; you have animals to take care of. Don’t even start with the cost; it is prohibitive, totally out of the question. Who even has that kind of money, you wonder? This is the reality for millions of people in Third World countries.
 
After a battery of tests, her diagnosis is pyelonephritis (infection of the kidneys) with renal failure (her kidneys are not working) due to a large mass obstructing urine flow from both kidneys. This is also complicated by the fact that she also now has heart failure as a result of the renal failure. The underlying problem is her untreated, advanced cervical cancer. Her prognosis is poor. She likely has less than six months to live.
 
This is one of the heartbreaking parts of medicine in the Third World. In the states, this situation would not likely happen. Access to good medical care is so much easier to obtain, and people understand what is meant by "you have cancer and you need to get further treatment" even though you are not feeling "too badly." The treatment may be expensive, but we have ways of helping.
 
We have services to help you if you need monetary assistance – enter care coordination. We have support for the emotional side of a diagnosis – enter the counseling department. In fact, this is one of Mercy’s goals in our community, to stand in the gap and help people not fall through the cracks, to provide excellent care to those who normally would not get it. In America, there are clinics like ours that help these underserved populations. It is a blessing to work at a clinic that is doing this vital work.
 
As we know at Mercy, though, the MOST important part of caring for any patient goes beyond these services. We have something more important to offer that is always with us and readily available. We can treat people and cure them of their infection, cancer or appendicitis through the common grace of medicine, but we all one day will die of something. What we have come to learn and understand (and working overseas has highlighted this to me) is that the REAL answer is not chemotherapy, antibiotics or surgery. The answer is JESUS. This is critical. This is what differentiates us from other healthcare organizations … what we have to offer patients spiritually.
Back to my patient. I was honest with her that she is dying. Her options were going to Lima to try to have an operation and chemo that might or might not work (they might not even consider her a good candidate for an operation because of her current renal and heart failure) or she could opt for the best palliative care that we can offer her and go home with a few more months to live.
 
She said that she wanted to go home and not go to Lima. I had the privilege of talking to her about Jesus, the hope of eternal life and peace with God. She listened intently and said that she has several sisters that do go to church, but she had not considered going herself until now. She wanted to go to church and learn more in the months that she had left in this life, but was concerned that her husband would not agree with her decision. She wanted me to talk with him.
 
This normally would not be difficult; however, it was a Saturday, visiting hours had not started (so he was not at the hospital), and I had committed to attend a Bible study located in a remote village and my ride was leaving in less than 30 minutes. These things are not difficult for the Lord, as I was to find out. As soon as I walked out of the hospital, who was immediately in my line of vision, but the patient's husband! I was able to talk with him about his wife's diagnosis, her wishes and the hope offered in a relationship with Jesus. He immediately understood the situation and expressed an interest to learn more about Jesus and eternal life. They both seemed to understand that hope is not in this life, but in trusting in Jesus.
 
Please pray for this patient who lives near the jungle in Northern Peru. I will never hear the ending chapter to her life, but I really am praying that she and her family would be changed by the hope, love and redemption that Jesus has to offer in a broken world of sin, sickness and sadness. Perhaps we will meet again in heaven.
 
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in the hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13 
Proceeds to benefit the School-Based Counseling Program

Watch for more information in August!


We appreciate everyone that supported us during The Big Payback in May! Thanks to you, $6,640 was raised for Mercy, which more than doubled last year's total.
Mercy Community Healthcare exists to reflect the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by providing excellent healthcare for ALL and support to their families.

Learn more at MercyTN.org.