Skip to comments.A Different Take On Health Care: A Trip to Lourdes (Catholic Caucus)
Posted on 11/28/2007 9:52:11 PM PST by Coleus
LOURDES, France -- In 1985, Dutch teenager Marcel Roeg fell off his moped and into the darkness. The smart-aleck jock would never again play goalie, ride a scooter or dance with his girlfriend Marissa. The accident left him brain-damaged and blind. Since that day, Mr. Roeg has spent most of his time in a home for the handicapped, harboring a dream. In the dream, he goes to Lourdes to visit the famous place where in 1858 a 14-year-old peasant girl claimed to see the Virgin Mary. There, he is healed. He rides a motorcycle again. And he is no longer lonely.
Last month, Mr. Roeg, now 37 years old, actually made the trip to Lourdes -- thanks to his insurance company, VGZ. In an unusual scheme, the Dutch company spends about $280,000 a year to fly 600 of its sickest and most disabled clients to Lourdes. The company doesn't expect the Virgin Mary to intercede. It hopes for a different sort of miracle. "Lourdes leads people to compassion and friendship," says Johan Rozendaal, a VGZ board member. "They remember what it's like to have somebody really care about them." Mr. Roeg expected more than that. His mother had made a pilgrimage to Lourdes just a week before his fateful crash. He figured the place owed him something.
When Mr. Roeg had his accident, doctors weren't sure he would live. When he awoke from a two-month coma, he was confused and afraid. Slowly, he learned to talk and walk. A doctor, Jan de Lint, was devoted to his rehabilitation. He met regularly with the boy, and counseled the family on how to deal with the accident.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
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