Lessons of What the Eye’s Don’t See

Macie McGinn
4 min readMay 16, 2022

What would you do if you discovered that the water you were drinking was poisonous? I know I would be very angry and do everything I could to change it. The Flint Water Crisis was a major problem for the community of Flint, Michigan. It all started when the government wanted a cheaper water supply that went to the town. Without proper procedures, the town’s water quickly became tainted with lead, which causes long term health problems like early onset dementia, mental and motor delays, and overall quality of life.

A local news article describing the severity of the water crisis

Dr. Mona Hanna was a pediatrician at Hurley Children’s Clinic in Flint, Michigan. She discovered the water was tainted with lead and knew something needed to be done about it. How does this relate to her position as a doctor and the health industry?

  1. Being a doctor, means finding the underlying issues.

A couple weeks ago, I was speaking to a close friend about her husband who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. The conversation started because we were discussing terrible hospitals/doctors that we have encountered. Her story started with a doctor who chose to ignore her husbands elevated labs and hadn’t diagnosed her husband right then and there. He had seen a cardiologist a year later for a normal check up because heart disease runs in his family. As the heart doctor ran labs, he noticed his levels were pretty elevated and more test were ran. They discovered he did indeed have prostate cancer. Fast forward a few days, he returned to his regular doctor and asked why he didn’t notice this the year before when his labs were that high. They doctor had no response and then told him he had 6 months to live. Fast forward 4 years, he sees a different doctor and is alive and well with manageable symptoms.

Why is this story relevant?

A doctor’s job is to examine and accurately diagnose anyone who walks through their door. If my friends husband hadn’t seen a cardiologist, his cancer may have taken a turn for the worst. Without seeing the underlying issues, the doctor diagnosed what was seen with the visual eye. My friends husband was treated for high blood pressure and given a restrictive diet.

Now, not all doctors are bad… I personally have fantastic doctors, but Dr. Mona’s theory on teaching her medical students to look beyond the surface is exactly why it is important to find the cause. Doctors heal and treat people to give them a full, long life.

2. Water is essential to our everyday lives.

I really actually hate drinking water unless I feel I need it, but I will say nothing is better than a cold glass of ice water after a day of yard work. If you think about everything you do during your daily routine, how much of it includes water? Do you shower daily? Brush your teeth? Give your baby formula mixed with water? Take a bottle of water from home to work?

You get the point. We use water so much, daily, that we probably don’t even realize how much we do use it.

Contaminated water has grave dangerous to all life forms. Even the smallest amount of contamination can affect the quality of life.

Mona worked relentlessly to fix the Flint’s water crisis because she saw how it was affecting her patients and the community she worked for.

3. Rules and regulations need to be followed in order to avoid water contamination.

Now, I am no genius but if there are rules for walking across the street, I know there are rules for water regulation. The human species cannot survive without clean water. What this book taught me is that the government that overlooked this needed to be held responsible for the issue. People like Mona, shouldn’t have to fight so hard for what people need to survive on.

Conclusion

The Flint Water Crisis really opened a door for the health industry. Mona was a pediatrician that had to represent and vocalize for the community of Flint and fight for what is right. Water is a highly important resource that is used daily by everyone. Without it, human life form would not exist.

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