What is the leading cause of death in Escambia County? Cancer? Drug overdose? Trauma? I was surprised to find that none of these answers were correct. Dr. Mark Kummer, a pediatric endocrinologist practicing in Pensacola, asked the students this question at this semester’s pre-medicine forum.
Every semester, several forums are held, each for a different area of study. These forums give students the opportunity to learn more about their respective fields by hearing from speakers experienced in these areas. Lawyers may come to speak for a pre-law forum, an NCIS agent for a criminal justice forum, a physician for a pre-medicine forum, etc.
I found this semester’s pre-medicine forum to be especially enjoyable. As a missionary kid, I thought I had experienced the most dramatic conditions as I lived in the Philippines for eight years, until Dr. Kummer related his four-year experience living in Guatemala. For the sole purpose of providing care to those in need, Dr. Kummer sometimes had to live in a hut, bathe in a creek, and drive on a dirt road to and from a clinic. Because he took the same dirt road, people learned his route home, and they would often wait for him on the side of the road to ask for medical assistance as he travelled back to his hut at the end of the day.
And I thought not having hot water or air conditioning was bad. At least I had a house and a shower.
Dr. Kummer reminded students that though there are many positive aspects of being a physician, there are also challenges. The positive aspects include impacting lives, various career options in medicine, job security, and some prestige, but there are also the growing challenges of the loss of conscience rights and autonomy, as well as the high cost of advanced education. He reminded us that medicine is a profession, not just a job, and physicians will be required to take an oath before God.
As a student currently applying to medical school, I found Dr. Kummer to be very helpful not only practically, but also spiritually. I was motivated by his story and how he had spent time in Guatemala to use his training and talents for those in need.
So what is the leading cause of death in Escambia County? It’s abortion. And physicians across the nation are beginning to lose their rights to refuse to perform procedures contrary to their personal beliefs. It’s our responsibility as Christians to do everything we can to preserve our rights and to protect the principles upon which our faith lies. Dr. Kummer has remained loyal to his faith and has refused to perform immoral procedures that are contrary to this faith. The world not only needs more physicians like Dr. Kummer, but individuals in every profession who display the priceless qualities of character and moral stamina.