Encountering the Untouchable

UntouchableMy patient was a convicted murderer who tried to hang himself after a life sentence. Someone found him in time and he survived, but he was severely brain damaged and bedridden with muscle atrophy and contractures.

When I was called on to care for him, I found a man covered in tattoos with long, dirty hair. His only verbal responses were guttural moans. His eyes seemed to follow you everywhere, yet no one knew if he was processing anything we said to him.

Many nurses scorned him and believed he had gotten justice for the murder he had committed. Some felt he was possessed and refused to care for him. Those who did attend him provided the least amount of care needed, and it showed in this man’s neglected appearance.

It was tempting for me to also judge this man and agree with the assessment of my coworkers. But I believed he was someone created by God, a sinner like the rest of us, and a patient who needed full care.

Whenever I remember this untouchable patient, I reflect on how Jesus was not timid about touching someone with a repulsive illness in Luke 5:12-13. Jesus extended a touch of love to a man with leprosy, a vile disease that invited ostracism and contempt from the healthy. Jesus provided a healing encounter for an unloved, unclean and chronically sick patient who came to him. As Christian nurses, we are called to follow his compassionate example.

In my nursing unit, a few of us took the time to treat our condemned patient gently and care for him with as much dignity and respect as we could. I hope that somehow he sensed God’s love from us.

~ by Bonnie Hann, RN, BSN, BS-Missionary Nursing, NCF Campus Liaison


Healing Encounters with JesusSee “A Touch of Love” and other Healing Encounters Bible studies from NCF. Invite your friends, classmates or coworkers to discuss these gospel stories using the questions designed for those in the nursing profession. Learn how to do a nursing assessment on characters from the Bible and how to apply Scripture to nursing by putting faith into practice.




A great message...NCF....The Hands that CARE.....

What an awesome reminder of why we are nurses. Caring like Jesus will make a difference for the patient and staff. They may even come to know the Lord through our compassion. Who are we to decide if they are worthy? We are all God's children and should be treated as such. Thanks for such though provoking post. :)

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