1. Ruud, Maria N. MSN, NP, RN,C

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Thank you for the wonderful Correspondence from Abroad article, "The Crisis in West Africa" (September 2003).


I care for many women from Liberia as a nurse practitioner in Minnesota. Five years ago, I encountered one who had recently arrived in the United States. During her examination, I noticed severe scarring on her forearms and asked what had happened. She calmly told me that the scars were the result of a rebel's failed attempt to cut off her arms. I've seen patients with scars from torture, and I've heard stories of rape, murdered family members, and lost children. The courage and strength I've witnessed in these patients is overwhelming. I often exit the examination room sensing that I've gained more from the encounter than my patient did.


Where we are determines what we see, and what we see shapes who we are. Everybody has a story. I've been privileged to hear these.


Maria N. Ruud, MSN, NP, RN,C