A number of months ago, we were walking home across the park when we noticed a few young boys engrossed in something on the floor. Walking a little closer we discovered they were trying to start a fire, just for fun/! We asked where they obtained the matches from and were told the parents were out and they found the matches at home. The boys claimed they were their matches and they could play with them if they wanted to.
It took a lot to help them understand just how dangerous their little game could become and to stop what they were doing and give us the matches for safe keeping until their parents returned. Following up with the parents was not so easy either.
Having worked in a burns unit, I prefer to help to educate regarding burns prevention and other accident and disability prevention, though this approach to healthcare is not always so readily received. With all the resistance to preventing accidents, I think I'd still rather hear the gripes of those who think I am over-reacting to the cries and screams of those in pain undergoing a certain procedure. For those in the burns unit, having their daily bath was the worst and the screams stayed with me for years, not just while treating them.
Some years ago, I offered a major website to write a series of a few articles on accident and disability prevent stating that the Rambam (Maimonedes) teaches that prevention is better than cure. Judaism is of course focused on preservation of life and saving lives therefore comes first before other Mitzvos.
Sadly the website turned down the offer out of concern for ambulance drivers, doctors and others who receive a Parnassa due to accidents. I'd rather do what I can to educate on preventing an accident and allow Hashem who runs to world to provide a different Parnassa to those who receive their income from anything related to accidents than keep quiet and hear the cries of those who have been hurt. Hashem is not short of ways to provide income to anyone. Aside from my feelings as a health professional, I am not alone in this attitude. Speaking to a med student, she reminded me that contrary to the editor's concern, most health professionals would actually prefer to be involved in happy intervention such as delivery of a new born than in trauma care.
I remember too, giving a talk in the Old City of Jerusalem on the topic and being saddened by only 3 women showing. One woman explained that the information is common sense. It might be so, but it is hard when reading of such a major tragedy to consider the words that preventing accidents, burns and other disabilities are just common sense.
The sad reality is that too many of us are too busy in our daily lives to think of the real needs that can save the lives of those we love and prevent those terrible tragedies.
For those who know our work in Chessed Ve'Emet, our main focus is that the world is built on loving kindness and stands on three things: Torah, Tefillah and acts of loving kindness.
One of the greatest kindnesses we can do is to learn how to protect our lives and our health. Since I was not successful in writing a series of articles for a website, I offer instead that you sign up for my newsletter. In my newsletter I aim to share important information on accident and disability prevention, tips on developing a healthy, balanced lifestyle and much more. Even if the information is common sense, please, please sign up and read the information. If even one tragedy can be prevented we will have achieved something.
Sign up for our newsletter and together, with G-d's help, may we merit good health and well being for all.
This post is prepared for you by:
Occupational therapist, healing facilitator
Certified infant massage instructor
Certified Kallah teacher