Partnerships make a major impact in our patients’ health and having Catholic Charities as our partner in mental health services is such an important part of CHRISTUS St. Mary’s Clinic.
Sister Rosanne Popp, M.D. recently cared for a new patient who had come for a “check up.” Upon entering the exam room, she saw a young woman sitting with her mother. She thought it unsual that a mother would accompany a 26 year-old woman on a clinic visit, and even more unusual when the mother responded to the medical history questions that are asked on a first visit.
When asked why the woman could not answer these questions for herself, the mother responded that the daughter was very shy. And indeed, the daughter looked quite withdrawn and more like a teenager that the 26-year woman that she was.
But as the history progressed, the “whole story” came out and everything made sense.
The family was from Honduras, and the daughter has been in the US for only four months. “The mother ‘rescued her’ from her country where she was being sexually abused,” Dr. Popp said. “Since the abuser was someone in law enforcement, she had no recourse for assistance and had to allow the abuse to continue.” To make matters worse, the young woman had been previous sexually assaulted as a nine-year old child. This long-term history of abuse explained the shyness and lack of eye contact, as well as the mother communicating for her daughter. “The mother brought her so that we might help repair her body and soul,” Dr. Popp said.
After providing a physical and laboratory testing, Dr. Popp referred her to counseling with Catholic Charities to continue her healing process.