There is a different type of medicine helping to heal local patients, one that you might not expect to see within the walls of a hospital.
There is a pastoral care team that says its life calling is to minister to the sick and hurting in the hospital.
It is another prayerful start to the day for Father Bennie Wego and Reverend David DeWitt at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. A day on the job for these ministers can bring a range of emotions, stresses and people - looking for healing from a power much higher than a doctor. "People can be a little bit down or a little bit low," said Rev. DeWitt, "they ask, 'Why me? What's going on? Why this, why now?'"
Those are questions that never have easy answers, but something that Father Bennie says can create a dialogue between the patient, family and someone willing to help. "We always give them time to express themselves freely and openly and if they think that we can help them and we are right there for helping them," he said.
When a patient is admitted, he or she is given a face sheet. On it, there is an option to identify a religious preference. That information is then put into the hospital's census and given to the minister or priest.
When Rev. DeWitt or Father Bennie is matched with a patient, their time together might be short or a series of visits, offering peace in the midst of trials. "I hope they leave knowing they are loved and cared for in every way possible," said Rev. DeWitt.
The pastoral care staff has a strong crisis and emergency ministry, facing tragedies brought into the emergency room or at the bedside of a dying patient. "We are here to help them find their way through their illness and understand it, not just so much in terms of physiology, but spirituality," said Rev. DeWitt.
It is a job that is not for the faint of heart. Instead, a life mission that this team answered. "It is my calling, it is my ministry, it is really my life," said Rev. DeWitt.
If the pastoral care team is not inside LCMH's chapel, you will see them in waiting rooms, stopping by patient rooms and visiting guests throughout the hospital halls. The reverend and priest are on call 24 hours a day.