Dr. Fukilman has lived for many years among the streets of New York. He’s well acquainted with the best and the worst sides of the city. His Catholic faith, which guides his medical practice, makes him concerned for the sick who don’t have the resources to see a doctor. One day, with SOMOS, he decided to go seek them out. But, what is SOMOS?
Dr. Fukilman takes care of many patients in New York who, despite living in the city of many people’s dreams, don’t have the money they need to be seen by a doctor. The abyss between the middle class of the Big Apple and those who are truly poor is as wide as the Hudson River.
Fukilman, a 73-year-old man originally from Argentina, is part of the prestigious healthcare system of Mount Sinai Hospital in Queens, and is on the medical team at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He is also a member of the SOMOS project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing medical care to underserved populations in the city.
SOMOS has more than 2,000 healthcare professionals who are trying to improve the situation of those who cannot afford a visit to the doctor. “I believe that the lack of access to healthcare due to insufficient financial means is a great impediment to a patient’s health,” Fukilman says.
Although he has spent his professional career as a specialist in internal medicine, he looks at the patient as a whole. “Not just with regards to health,” he says, “but also in the social and spiritual areas.” He inspires trust in them, and above all, he believes that what matters most is “to try to help people” and to do it “in a timely and effective way.”
In their work, the SOMOS personnel show their humanity and empathy, being at the side of those who suffer. “There is a lot of humanity in what we do. I don’t believe that a robot or a computer or technology can provide the aspect of human warmth every person needs.”