Today was a historic day.
At least for some of us.
I've been helping out at the Salvation Army free clinic in town since early in residency. And then, when I started fellowship in 2005, a friend and I started the diabetes clinic part of the facility. After she left, I took over her position and have been the medical director of the subspecialty clinic since.
We've long been used to the '3rd world medicine' setup of the clinic. So unlike where I usually work- just a big hall with no private rooms, no blood tests aside from a stat A1c kit. Small pharmacy housed by big-hearted volunteers, dispensing free medications donated by organizations. And somehow, our patients there never complained. About the lack of pricavy. About the long waiting periods. Or lack of everything except heart.Last week saw the launch of a $7.5 million newly-constructed building, housing our medical, dental and eye clinics, and containing even 32 residential units for the homeless.
Tonight was the first time we held our Diabetes & Hypertension clinic in the new facility. For many of us it was a night of pride. To be able to offer our patients the privacy of an exam room. A proper waiting area that was warm and well-lit with comfortable chairs. It's still not a world-class institution. But somehow, perhaps from the warmth of the hearts of the people there, this facility feels first class. And I'm glad that when I step down as medical director in a few short months, the clinic's legacy lives on.