The Neighborhood Health Clinic waiting room is filled to capacity. Some are here for the first time; some have been here many times before for treatment of chronic conditions. Anxious faces, not unlike others who routinely seek help from their family physician for a health concern, unaware of what the diagnosis or treatment may be. They work hard, have families, and have dreams for their children. The only difference? Many people are fortunate to have health care coverage; our patients do not.
As their names are called and they interact with the nurses and doctors at the Clinic, a calmness comes over them; they know they have come to the right place. They matter here. A smile, a firm handshake, a pat on the back, a reassuring word; they are feeling better already. They receive outstanding health care from volunteer physicians and nurses. Many come from very busy medical practices during the day; their “pay” is the joy they feel from using their vast skills to help others and the knowledge that they are making a difference in the lives of their neighbors.
As the evening winds down the noise level begins to drop; diagnoses have been made, treatments have been delivered, and medications have been provided. Another costly emergency room visit or hospital stay has been prevented. The sound of tired medical providers can be heard coming from the break room as they sip a cup of coffee or eat a piece of leftover cake before they head home. It’s been a long day, but it’s been a good day.
We give thanks to the staff, the over 500 volunteers, the hospitals, and other medical facilities for the dedication and compassion that they show every patient that walks through our door. And we give thanks to the generosity of our donors who provide the funding that allows us to take care of those in our community without one penny of government support; you make it all possible. Because it matters to you, hard working men and women, your neighbors, can truly give thanks during this wonderful holiday.
Jim Warnken, CEO
Neighborhood Health Clinic
Click here to read Jim Warnken’s letter to the editor published in the Naples Daily News on November 24, 2011.