In recent newsletters, we have highlighted our continued growth by telling you how many times people have entered our clinics in need of our services. We will certainly record more visits this year than last, just as we recorded more visits last year than the year before that, as we have for seven consecutive years.
But sometimes our story gets lost in the numbers, so this time we want to tell you about just one person.
One November day in 2011, we met Ms. B., a fifty-five year old woman with diabetes, high blood pressure, and back pain due to a herniated disk. Uninsured and trying to get by on limited income, she had been referred to the Good Samaritan Health Center for help. She weighed 176 pounds at the time. Little did they know then how much Ms. B. would face in health crises over the next seven years.
Ms. B. would need treatment for chronic bronchitis, diabetic neuropathy, and diverticulitis, and eventually suffer a mild stroke. But the real trouble came in 2016 when she noticed blood in her stool. Shortly thereafter, she underwent surgery for stomach cancer. With half her stomach removed and persistent nausea caused by chemotherapy, she shrank to a mere 87 pounds. And if that wasn’t enough, six months later she would suffer a pulmonary embolism, a life threatening clot in her lung.
When we first met Ms. B., her take home income was just under $26,000. Later, after her medical problems resulted in her inability to work, she struggled to support herself on a disability income of only $1,400 a month. We have been able to offer and help her access lifesaving care that otherwise would have been out of her financial reach.
Our original clinic moved to a larger location in Norcross in July 2017 and there opened Gwinnett’s only full-time charity dental practice. Ms. B. followed her trusted healthcare providers, and became a dental patient as well after falling and breaking her front teeth.
Today, Ms. B.’s medical chart is three inches thick and includes documentation of well more than $200,000 worth of medical care, care provided by the Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett and partners in the community who help us attend to the needs of the poor and uninsured. Ms. B. remains in our care and we gladly help her manage her ongoing medical challenges. “You people are my family, I love you,” she tells us each time she returns to the clinic. And thank God, her health is slowly but surely improving. She now weighs 116 pounds.
If not for the Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett and the donations we receive to help sustain our services, one can only speculate where Ms. B. might be today. On behalf of Ms. B. and the thousands of other patients we serve, the Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett team joins me in offering a sincere Thank You for supporting our mission. We hope you will continue to do so.