Holding the Baby for Security

According to a BBC report this morning, an
Israeli hospital held a baby as security for payment of a hospital bill. As
onerous as it sounds in this case, it’s a common practice in some nations in
Africa. There, the reasons are economic. In the case of the Israeli hospital,
it’s also economic but it occurs in the wider context of the Israeli-Palestinian
divide that results in the dehumanizing of all involved. When our common
humanity is not the bottom line, our individual humanity is
undermined.

I remember hearing a Kenyan health official tell of mothers dropping newborn babies from the second story windows of hospitals in her country because the mothers couldn’t afford to pay their hospital bills and they were held until payment was received.

It sounds like a story by Charles Dickens. But it happens.

According to a BBC report this morning, an Israeli hospital held a baby as security for payment of a hospital bill. There, the reasons are economic, too. But it occurs in the wider context of the Israeli-Palestinian divide that results in the dehumanizing of all involved.

When the bottom line is money and not healing and compassion, our common humanity is undermined and individual humanity is violated. If we don’t make health care a basic human right and serve everyone in a way that affirms our belief in a life of quality and wholeness, then we will continue to undermine our claim that all life is precious and should be respected.

Stories like this reveal how distant that goal is becoming and it should serve as a call to repent for behavior that denies our respect for human dignity and reveals how we value money over the sanctity of human life. We can do better.

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