After coming on staff as a pediatrician at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in 1999, Randy Christensen was given the opportunity to fulfill the dream he’d had since medical school of reaching out to underserved populations and providing them with the basic medical care they so desperately needed.
Retrofitting an old Winnebago into a clinic on wheels, he set out for some of the toughest neighborhoods in the greater Phoenix area in order to do just that for some of the thousands of homeless children and teens living in dumpsters, abandoned buildings, and sewers. Many of these kids had run away from sexual and physical abuse at the hands of parents and step parents, many of whom themselves were impaired by alcohol and substance abuse, and/or mental illness.
Christensen chronicles some of his experiences of the last decade in his new and very moving book, “Ask me why I hurt.” Despite its descriptions of some of the worst that can happen to children, it also very uplifting and oddly comforting in that it shows how the actions of a handful of people can make such a difference in the lives of so many others.
A full review of “Ask me why I hurt” can be found in the Boston Globe.