Dr. Jared Morton

One Idaho Falls doctor’s work in Zimbabwe

Published online: Mar 07, 2020 Articles Emily FitzPatrick
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Everyone has a dream vacation, whether that be eating your way through Italy or climbing the picturesque ruins in Mexico. Some of us even save up for years to take a lavish vacation, pampering ourselves with stays at hotels we’ve admired on Pinterest for years, or taking long solo walks on the beach.

Every year, Dr. Jared Morton and an entire team from ZimbabWEcare of Idaho Falls give up these dreams to serve on a medical mission in Africa for two weeks. What kind of person does it take to give up these luxuries and instead take a trip lending humanitarian aid? 

Dr. Morton is someone dedicated to the well-being of people he doesn't even know. His time spent once a year in Africa is certainly the culmination of his hard work, but there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes throughout the year, including gathering and organizing supplies, reaching out to other health professionals and spreading a general awareness of what it is he does with ZimbabWEcare.

Everyone that runs into him knows about the service he offers and are frequently inspired to give as well. Friends and well-wishers pass along goods to donate which he stores in his garage and donating money for the team he’s with to bring more bags of supplies. All of this -- plus the $3,000each attendee of the group pays -- is just a small portion of the sacrifice leading to ZimbabWEcare’s annual medical mission.

Hitting the Ground Running

ZimbabWEcare’s trips are a whirlwind of work. The level of poverty in Zimbabwe is incomprehensible to most -- contaminated drinking water, little to no food and poor medical accessibility. Although Dr. Morton goes specifically to offer his professional experience as a medic, he and his group keep giving in whatever ways they can once they’ve finished their portion of the work -- helping to pump water from wells and passing out hygiene kits.

“As soon as you hit the ground you don’t stop,” Dr. Morton reflected. “You just run around non-stop. After we’re done with our part we go to the smaller areas and try to help with the local humanitarian needs, because we also bring all of that stuff with us.”

Giving everything the team has includes forfeiting some things they’re not used to going without, such as running water and a comfortable bed. They go wherever local Zimbabweans feel they should go, addressing the needs they feel are greatest in their community.

“We’re not staying in motels. We’re staying out on the banks of rivers. Small little fishing villages or clinics where there’s no running water. You just do a wet-wipe bath that day and call it good. But we do try to get people into some kind of normal-looking camp area that’s relatively safe, because that’s always a concern of ours.”

Many people thinking over a service trip in Africa or other foreign countries frequently worry about the potential of being robbed at gunpoint. However, there is a low percentage of crimes of this variety in Zimbabwe. Central concerns for safety actually revolve around wildlife rather than typical concerns of travel-goers, but the medical team carefully avoids putting themselves in any situations that might become dangerous.

Working Efficiently

Dr. Morton and the team, comprised of Eric Rose, Liatt Potter, general surgeon, Michael Lemon, an ER doc, Joe Anderson, a dentist, Scott Pickett, along with numerous nurses, nurse practitioners, CNAs and other medical professionals work to help as quickly and efficiently as possible, providing both short and long-term solutions for the villagers seeking their aid. 

“They brought a little girl in a wheelchair to me that was comatose and having seizures,” Dr. Morton shared. “We fixed her and got her better, but they took her back to this area and they said you need to leave this clinic and come with us. So, we show up to this field and 600 people show up, and they’re trading clothes because they don’t have anything to wear and we just see them for two days straight.”

There are some that seek medical attention from Dr. Morton whose conditions, such as tumors, are too far advanced for any life-saving. To these people, he gives pain medications in hopes that they will be able to find respite from their pain in their final days. 

On top of the immediate medical attention Dr. Morton contributes, he also educates when possible, providing locals with the knowledge they need in order to strengthen their quality of life. For example, over the years ZimbabWEcare has taught people how to farm, providing them with seeds and demonstrating how to care for crops. This and other projects allow for the group to make a lasting difference, rather than sticking a BandAid on the central problem -- the level of poverty.

Absorbing the Experience

On the last few days of their medical mission the group has a little fun, visiting Victoria Falls and going on a safari. This allows those joining them to not only see the impoverished parts of Africa, but also the parts that are breath-takingly beautiful.

After all is said and done it’s back to Idaho Falls where Dr. Morton works at Mountain View Hospital and Idaho Falls Community Hospital. However, the memories of what the team has experienced during their medical mission remains with them, propelling them to begin their preparations for the next year.

 

For More Information

ZimbabWEcare

www.zimbabwecare.org

 

Are you ready to act after reading Dr. Jared Morton, Eric Rose and Liatt Potter’s story? Take the time to check-out more about how you can help on zimbabwecare.org and be sure not to miss the benefit concert this month.

Tickets include access to an open bar and entertainment rolling in all the way from Los Angeles! This is an event that you won’t want to miss, so make sure to join ZimbabWEcare for a fun night and raise money for their cause. 

 

ZimbabWECare Concert

Date: March 14,2020

Place: Eagle Rock Indian Motorcycle

Time: 6:30 p.m. doors open 

          7:45 p.m. concert starts

Cost: $40 donation and any medication with current expiration date

 

 If you would like to read more of our March issue click here!

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