“SAT” by Danielle Ofri
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In a life of poverty, illnesses surround its inhabitant. From poor nutrition to unfit living conditions come afflictions that range from a cough to polio. And as a society we preoccupy ourselves with the short comings of poverty. Creating a revolving door at hospitals treating the poor for their present illnesses, but paying no mind in preventing them for the future. In SAT,” Ofri describes her experience as a doctor treating an impoverished unambitious young man, Nemesio Rios. Instead of just following up on Rios’ routine check up, Ofri decides to prepare Rios for the SAT so that he could have a chance to go to college. For educational preparation is the preventative medicine for ones future well being because improving ones economical status increases their overall health. However, with Rios’ situation Ofri recalled the image of a corpse she had seen long ago that reminded Ofri of Rios, which motivated Ofri to help Rio. But, with Rios being so lazy would he, when left alone, follow through with the SAT. Or where Ofri’s efforts was just a tip of the iceberg? From this experience Orfi learned the much more important meaning of preventative medicine.
Nemesio Rios was an openly lazy disillusioned young man. He had unrealistic goals that he himself did not believe in. His desire of playing professional basketball fell short of realistic along with his second choice of being a comic book artist. Rios shot himself down with the idea of himself becoming a professional basketball player saying that he was to short t play professionally. As for Rios second idea of becoming a comic book artist Rios demonstrated a lack of enthusiasm or decisiveness. It was as if he was indifferent to what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He is a confused young man who only does what he is told. The only motivation in Rios life came from others around him. From people like Rios’ old High School teacher, to Ofri and those who pressured him to go to the hospital in the first place. Rios seemed so convinced that peer pressure was so “full of crap,” yet it was the pressure of the people around him that drove him, into action. However, as a High School graduate the only thing going for Rios was working in a kitchen that he id not seem to be adamant about. Stuck in a dead end job things looked bleak for Rios.
Without any higher education, Rios would in all possibility be stuck in cycle of low paying jobs leaving Rios on the lower end of the economic spectrum. As Ofri put it “…Health status and life expectancy are directly correlated with socioeconomic status and earning power.”(531 The Writers Presence, Ofri) This leaves Rios and others like him with poor views on life. And aside from poor health care insurance resulting in bad personal health, they also make bad lifestyle choices. Rios along with others like him get stuck in a cycle, perpetuating their own problems which ultimately makes things worse. This is where society attempts to step in and help Rios along with others like him.
With societies focus on the physical ailments of Rios and others who may find themselves in similar positions, leave the much more profound causes of these ailments untouched. For was it Rios’ cough that was most threatening to Rios’ well being, or is it Rios’ economic status that most threatens him? Treating Rios for his cough just gets him in and out of the hospital. But, preparing Rios for his future, in even a small way like helping Rios with SAT prep might lead him out of poverty. The SAT help he receives could rise Rios higher up in the economic chain improving his overall health and well being. Also no longer will an aimless young man be walking around just getting by. A more centered young man would be born with attainable goals in mind that he himself believed in. No longer would he rely on the motivation of others. But, the factor that made Ofri really concerned about Rios was when she viewed Rios much like the corpse of a young child she had once seen.
Danielle Ofri was compelled to help Rios after she was reminded of the corpse she had seen during her tour of the New York City medical examiners office. It was the corpse of a child who had been shot in the chest. At first thought she wanted to wake him up tell him to get up off the cutting table and leave. But, then as Ofri gazed at the bullet hole in the child’s chest, Ofri was left wishing that time could be have been reversed, so that child could have moved six inches to the right, so he could escape the bullet the stole his life. That sight and feeling of the young boy on the cutting table are what compelled Ofri to help Rios. Ofri viewed Rios the same way she viewed the boy on the table. However, in this new case Ofri could give Rios the six inches he needed.
As Ofri viewed it, taking the SAT s was the best thing she could recommend for Rios’ long term health. Which, Rios gladly accepted after Ofri quelled Rios’ negative thoughts, by telling him that there was no history portion in the SAT s. Under the condition that Rios bring an SAT prep book for the next three appointments Ofri helped Rios prepare for the SAT s. After those three meetings it was all left up to Rios. Ofri lost touch with Rios. Despite Ofri’s desire to know the out come of Rios efforts in the Sat, she never got to know. Although Ofri did find satisfaction in helping Rios, if only a little, as well as expanding her own knowledge.
In the less then perfect ending Ofri learned the new meaning of preemptive medicine. She learned more of an inadequate system that is not able to help everyone with what they need. Yes, medical treatment is important but people need something more than that. Education is needed to reduce that demand of medical treatment and overall raise the quality of life as a whole for those in need. For those who are unable to provide for themselves. Ofri’s effort was in the end just a tip of the iceberg needed to help people like Nemesio Rios. After Ofri’s contribution to Rios could he over come his laziness? Take the initiative and go take the SAT. Rios himself called himself lazy more than once. Giving the imprecision that with out anyone to tell Rios what to do he would otherwise do nothing. Rios was a troubled youth from the beginning. He had no aspirations in life. Not even his own desires held value in his head. He had only gone to the hospital because he was told to. When asked why he had come to the hospital all he did was shrug and say they told me to.
However Rios did give a glimmer hope when Rios mentioned that Ofri was shorter than Rios, yet still played basketball in college. To which Ofri answered because she was so short Ofri was obligated to find another career and Rios answers “You and me both.”(532 The Writers Presence, Ofri) This gives the idea that he has changed. That Rios may have actually chosen a future to pursue. Leading to the conclusion the he might of gone to take the SAT.
In a crazy world full of sicknesses cause by poverty. Those stricken by poverty need something more then just handouts. Although programs like medic aide,among others, are very important they do not solve the cause of the problem. Those helped by these programs keep returning to get temporary relief of their illnesses, instead of a more permanent relief that could come from educating the people. So, that people can be given a proper opportunity at progressing themselves to a far enough point. Where beneficiaries are no longer dependent programs to sustain themselves. Instead, they become independent.
Aside from education, proper motivation has to be given to broaden the horizons of people like Nemesio Rios . Youths need to be able to believe in themselves. Youths like Rios need have strong mentors like Ofri. People who can guide wayward kids into a general direction so they are not as lost and disillusioned as Rios. Education needs to be spread out as evenly as possible to give everyone an equal opportunity at a proper education and so that everyone may an equal opportunity to go to college.
People in poverty are not to just sustained in their poor states of being. With proper guidance and support they can transition from their poor state into one more comforting to their growth. As, time passes with steady growth the old form of poverty will be eliminated. And only because of the our natural need to classify things will poverty still exist. Instead the the remaining form of poverty will not even closely resemble the old. It will still be a fairly crude form of living, but the over all standard of life for the “poor” will have grown tremendously.