Longtime friend and patient of the clinic, Jorge, traveled from Mexico to the United States 15 years ago with the aspirations of finding a good job. Nowhere in his plans, as a 24 year old, was a month-long hospitalization, the diagnoses of rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus, nor the realization that there was nowhere to turn for help.
A casual suggestion to try Good Samaritan Clinic was the beginning of a courageous journey for both patient and the clinic to find the appropriate medical resources. A medical regime was established through our many partnerships within our community, but not without stumbling blocks and complications.
In addition to the joint pain and decrease in mobility these two disease processes cause, the ultimate decision to replace both knees was complicated by many factors along the way: cellulitis in several areas of his body that required surgical incisions and 3 years to heal, the onset of diabetes and hypertension, blood clots in both of his lower legs, meningitis, and even a stroke at the age of 37.
It is no wonder that Jorge suffered from bouts of depression, in varying degrees, throughout this ordeal. As a man of faith, he believed that through the grace of God and our support, he could get through this. After 15 years of finding the right medications, the appropriate medical intervention, and willing doctors to help Jorge, his condition has stabilized enough for him to recently have both knees replaced.
It was a great joy to see Jorge out of the wheelchair he needed for 2 years!
He now ambulates with a cane and hopes that in 3 months he can walk unassisted. His outlook is more hopeful than it’s been in a long time.
Jorge’s Testimony: “This is the place I have come and you have helped me. I am very, very grateful.”
Eve has been a patient of Good Samaritan Clinic since the summer of 2014. Her family has been very involved with the community for many years, actively helping those in need of assistance. She became aware of Good Samaritan Clinic through their work. Eve has worked in the restaurant industry since she was 16 years old, though none of her employers have offered her an insurance plan. Working long hours while staying on her feet, Eve began to notice herself becoming less mobile and progressive pain developing in her hips.
She came to Good Samaritan Clinic seeking help and advice. X-Rays revealed severe degenerative joint disease in both hips that would require hip replacements. The Clinic connected her to a surgeon in Chapel Hill and helped her navigate the lengthy process of applying for financial aid. In October of 2015, Eve had her first hip replacement and is scheduled to have her other hip replaced in February of 2016.
Eve’s Testimony: “Every day, I thank God for Good Samaritan Clinic’s people. Prior to coming here, I was at the lowest point in my life. Without Good Samaritan Clinic I may have taken desperate measures. I have never felt condescended to here, shamed, or pitied.”
Eve is very optimistic about the future. She says that she “can see the light at the end of the tunnel” that she can be healthy again. Eve plans to contact Vocational Rehabilitation and seek employment after recuperating from her second hip replacement next month.
Tami found herself in a difficult and stressful situation after losing her job and health insurance benefits in 2012. The loss of her insurance was especially devastating because Tami suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, a debilitating disease of the central nervous system, which disrupts the flow of information between the brain and body. Due to her condition, Tami required daily injections of Copaxone, a costly synthetic protein that simulates the protection of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord. A three month supply of Copaxone retails for $16,098 and without insurance, Tami was left with no place to turn.
At the suggestion of a friend, Tami visited Good Samaritan Clinic to see if they could help. After becoming a patient, the clinic was able to supply Tami with her daily doses of Copaxone, at no cost to her, through the Medication Assistance Program. In Tami’s words, “I filled out the paperwork, was received as a patient and everything has been wonderful since. Without my medication, I would have ended up in a nursing home. I couldn’t function daily without it.”
Coordinated by Owonia Hudson, the Medication Assistance Program is a component of the onsite Pharmacy at Good Samaritan Clinic. MAP is a pathway program that is designed to help Good Samaritan Clinic patients gain access to medications that would otherwise be out of reach, due to availability and cost. Copaxone is a rarely requested medication that requires special handling, storage and dispensing instructions. Tami shared with us, “Owonia was awesome in getting my medication. I never went without anything the whole time I was a patient.”
In September of 2014, Tami says her life took a great turn “I met the man of my dreams and we got married.” Tami was able to afford private health insurance and is no longer a patient at the clinic. She is currently on track to receive her Associate of Arts, with Honors, from Western Piedmont Community College this May. After graduation, Tami says she plans to return to the clinic: this time as a volunteer for the Medication Assistance Program.
Tami’s Testimony: “I need to feel like I am giving back. The clinic is awesome; even though I’m no longer a patient, I was still greeted by name today at the front window. When I was first diagnosed, [with Multiple Sclerosis,] people kept telling me to stay home. That isn’t me. I need a way of feeling like I am contributing to a place that does God’s work. Everyone here is so nice and caring; they always have been.”
To learn more about becoming a patient at Good Samaritan Clinic, click here.