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Free Heart Clinic

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Heart disease kills more Americans than any other health condition. February is called Heart Month…a time to reflect on cardiac health. However, for uninsured Americans seeing a cardiologist is a luxury they cannot afford any time of year. One group takes the issue to heart…offering free cardiac care. Heidi Robinson has the story.    

 
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SCRIPT:

(Locator: Petersburg, Virginia)

Wanda Mason, Heart Patient: “You got heart problems, they tell you ‘don’t stress, don’t get yourself upset.’”

Forty-seven-year-old Wanda Mason’s heart was a ticking time bomb, causing the loss of her job and health insurance.

Wanda Mason, Heart Patient: “I mean, I’ve worked all my life, took care of myself, I raised three kids and now I can’t even afford to go to the doctor?”

Every specialist’s door was closed to her...but this one.

Wanda to man at desk: “How are you doing today?”

Heart patients like Wanda find hope at Pathways in Petersburg, Virginia…a cardiac clinic that places value on the human heart, not a price tag.

Man at desk: “Good afternoon, how are you?”

Each month about 50 patients receive care from top cardiologists, nurses and staff. No co-pay, no insurance card required, thanks to funding from the United Methodist Church.

Bishop Charlene Kammerer, Virginia Conference United Methodist Church: “There is no other place people could go to get free health care, and especially for critical heart needs.”

Nurse: “That’s good. 122 over 70.”

Vital signs are important here…

Dr. Kwabena Agyeman, Cardiologist: “Alright young lady, and how are you?”

…so are vital relationships.

Dr. Kwabena Agyeman, Cardiologist: “The word 'doctor' is a verb. It means to teach. And if we do our job, fewer people will end up in the ER; fewer people will have heart attacks. Fewer people will die.”

Dwala Ferrell, Pathways Executive Director: “They are in a practice and they give up some of their income in order to come here and work for no pay, and they do it because it changes their life.”

…and heals others.

Wanda to receptionist: “Bye, bye.”

Wanda: “It saved my life. They saved my life in every way.”

TAG:

The U.S. Census bureau estimates that about fifteen percent of Virginia’s population does not have access to health care, and especially access to specialists.

The Pathways cardiac clinic has been treating patients for about a year with a volunteer staff that includes two cardiologists, nurses, a dietician and support staff.

If you would like more information about Pathways, call 804-862-1104.

Posted: Feb. 11, 2009