In February 2020, Vicky Whitfield visited CHRISTUS Point of Light Clinic, struggling to keep her diabetes and hypertension under control. In 2014, she experienced a heart attack and had a defibrillator implanted, which she now wanted removed.
Elizabeth Ryan, Point of Light Clinic’s Nurse Practitioner, spent a lot of time listening to her concerns. Whitfield was hesitant to start insulin to control her diabetes, but became more open after Ryan showed her how to operate the lantus pen. “Most family practioners are not able to spend that much time with a patient,” Ryan said. “The generosity of donors is the only reason I am able to give the extra attention needed to patients. It is so important because many of my patients have limited education or language barriers and are easily overwhelmed and anxious in a medical setting.”
Mayra Rios, Point of Light’s Coordinator of Medical & Pharmacy Services, oversees the RX assistance program, which is instrumental in acquiring free medications for on-going conditions like Whitfield’s. Rios works with patients in filling out the sometimes complicated paperwork to give them access to medications that would otherwise be financially unattainable for them.
According to Ryan, Whitfield has a supportive family. “Her daughters work together to help her afford her cardiologist.
She sees him about once a year and me the rest of the year. Her daughters also bring her to appointments.” And Whitfield did the rest of the hard work. She learned about a healthy diet and started walking. She took medications as prescribed and followed up as recommended. “It truly is a partnership,” Ryan said. “We all did our part, and it worked.”