Transcript: "Dr. Mercy Obeime"


Doctor Obeime: I work for St. Francis Hospital. I'm the Medical Director of the St. Francis Neighborhood Health Center. We had a lot of people who were working poor. So we thought - about we decided to start a clinic that would help these people. And they come to us because they do not yet qualify for Medicare and are making too much money to qualify for Medicaid.

I founded the Mercy Foundation last year. The goal of the foundation is to celebrate life, to prevent unnecessary deaths and to restore hope in individuals who have lost hope because of the burdens of society, illness, or just everyday living.

Dr. Richard Feldman: Mercy developed her own Foundation which is certainly unusual for a single physician to help people here locally, and she has focused on obesity as her main issue here locally in Indianapolis. And then in Nigeria a totally different agenda. Basic healthcare and medicines, mission trips with a particular emphasis on AIDS, which is so devastating.

Doctor Obeime: I had gone to visit Nigeria and I went to visit one of my professors in medical school. A man brought in somebody who looked really sick. That person was actually his wife who had been sick from diarrhea for about four days. He had taken her to another clinic trying to get help but they have given him a list of things to buy which included IV drip - but he couldn't find any money to buy these supplies.

Before I could get the things organized to take care of this woman, she already died. And the man was devastated. But while this was going on, I found out the woman had about a five year old child who was pulling on her cloth asking her for food and is complaining that he had been asking her for food all day. And he was dying of hunger.

Knowing that the woman was dead and the man had no money and this little child was probably not gonna get any food or any money that day I just lost it. And when my friend came he said, "Mercy how can you be crying" because I just broke down. I was crying. "How can you be crying? People-you're a doctor. You know people die every day." And that's not true. People don't-in my practice people do not die every day any more.

I've always wanted to do something to help people who otherwise cannot help themselves. In Nigeria we're doing this by providing healthcare to people who otherwise would not have any access to healthcare. In Indianapolis we are doing that by focusing on obesity which is our highest preventable disease that causes death.

Chris Cooley, patient: She helped me get the inspiration I needed focusing on my weight problem, inspiring me to eat healthier foods. It's because of her that I'm in the shape I am today.

Doctor Obeime: When somebody comes to you totally hopeless and you're able to do something that actually puts a smile on their face or makes them feel like they're treated like human beings then I feel like it was worth my day to have gone to work or to have done something that day.

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