:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Friday, May 27, 2005  

Topahkal Patient Stories

This was an amazing week at the clinic and one more day to go. We saw about 35 patients so far, not to mention alot of phone calls. I had the wonderful help of a volunteer nurse practitioner, Lorraine, and a family practice doctor, Em. Thanks!!!

The week started off with a medical urgency. While I was sitting at UNMH financial aid office helping a lady sort out her $15,000.00 in bills from her pregnancy (see next paragraph) I was called by a family about a grandfather who could no longer pee. It had been about 16 hours and that starts getting quite uncomfortable and eventually downright dangerous. This grandfather was here on vacation from Mexico visiting his children and grandchildren. He had insurance in Mexico but was in a bind. Without insurance here, he was caught in the limits of the safety net. He needed a fairly simple procedure, the placement of a Foley catherter to allow him to pee. None of the clinics do this routinely so his only option would have been the ER or private urgent care at a cost of $200-500 or more. Fortunately, I had one foley catheter sitting around and was able to meet him in my clinic. I put in the foley, got about 1 liter of urine out and sent him on his way. The foley can stay in for 3-4 weeks safely so he had time to finish his visit with his family and then follow up in Mexico with his regular doctor for definitive treatment. cost was $55. and i'm ordering more Foleys.

So check out this story. The lady i mentioned is undocumented. During her pregnancy she developed a rare autoimmune condition and required hi risk prenatal services. she was told by her doctor that it would all be paid for by a special fund. after her pregnancy was over she received over $15,000 in bills from the hospital. Until the Coalition for Health Access got involved, she had been unable to make progress in sorting out even a payment plan. At her financial aid appointment this week, it became clear that she had been double billed by the hospital. They had already received payment from the special medicaid fund and were billing her anyways. The financial person apologized for the mistake and promised to rectify the situation...

If only I could make all the money I help people save... $15,000 wiped out in one short meeting. Granted, we had to wait about 3 hours to get to see the financial person but that is still a good hourly non-paid rate...

One more story from this week. All hands go to NUTRITION! Last week a grandma came in complaining of back pain. she looked miserable. She had a 2 1/2 yo boy with her who was freaking out wild, biting her, jumping on her, hyper as can be. After an exam it looked like she had a back strain but more importantly, a sugar addiction problem with her grandson which was exaccerbating her pain to the point of breaking. We spent a significant amount of time talking about nutrition and kids and growing bodies and hyper-ness and boundaries as a healthy thing. She left feeling a little better. I scheduled her for one of the volunteer massage spots (thanks JESSIE!) this week. I saw her today after the massage, she received craniosacral work, and didn't even recognize her. she looked like a vibrant young woman. Turns out it wasn't a back strain, it was a varicella zoster outbreak as evidenced by the new lesions on that part of her back. with the grandson, things had shifted alot. she had fought him with love and boundaries for a few days, withholding the sugar and keeping a firm hand on his behavior. after 4 days he was working with her and choosing not to eat the sugar. by the time i saw her, a week later, he was calmer, better behaved, playing nicely with other kids. Cure!


posted by andru | 5/27/2005 06:03:00 PM | |


Please share more inspiring stories.

# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 6/26/2005 9:36 PM  

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