“These children are seen as important to the culture and the community. That they, through your efforts to help these children, that they teach you things that are helpful in other ways. And that that engenders within the community a sense of responsibility for everybody to take care of those who are disadvantaged.”

That’s Dr. Holmes Morton discussing the role of ill and disabled children in Plain society.  In 1989 Morton founded the Clinic for Special Children, dedicated to helping children with rare genetic diseases, many of them from the Amish and Mennonite communities.

Morton is featured in a moving documentary of his life and work by WVA Public Television (below). His path to becoming a specialist in this field is fascinating. Morton was a high school dropout who acquired his medical education in a rather unorthodox way. This aspect of his story in particular seems fitting to the communities he has chosen to serve.

In the video we get a close-up look at the clinic itself, a nimble, efficient operation, which also seems tailor-made to the Amish. We also see footage from the annual benefit auction, at which members of the Plain community show their financial support and deep appreciation for Morton and the work of the clinic.

The video is well worth watching. You can also read a recent article about the clinic’s current work and plans for “exporting” its medical model elsewhere in America and even internationally. Dr. Morton will be giving a lectures on the clinic’s work and plans at Elizabethtown College on November 8.


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