Real People, Real Stories
The Physicians Free Clinic- Fulfilling Its Mission
On January 5, 2007, Melody Deberry woke with severe pain to her neck. Initially she attributed the pain to a stiff neck from an unfavorable sleeping position. Over the next week, the pain grew worse and worse until it became unbearable. Melody did not have health insurance or the means to cover doctor’s visits to investigate the source of the pain. As the pain continued to worsen, she was left with no choice but to seek medical care. By the time Melody saw her first doctor, the pain had traveled to her shoulder and down her left arm. She describes the pain as her muscles twisting into a knot. All day. Every day.
Melody spent time and money she didn’t have to spare on cortisone shots and chiropractors. Anything to find relief. She found herself leaving each visit in tears and in more pain than she was in when she arrived at the appointment.
Melody a hard-working, single mom, considers herself fortunate to work for generous, compassionate people that do what they can for her through their small, family-owned business. Everyday, Melody would make herself go to work. Melody recalls, “I would always cry because of the constant pain.” The pain continued to become so severe that she experienced great difficulty in lifting the smallest item and often suffered minor blackouts.
Eventually, someone associated with the owners of the business Melody worked for told her about the Physicians Free Clinic – a clinic for the uninsured staffed by physicians of the Columbus Medical Association. The next Monday evening, she left work and went straight to the clinic to see a doctor. After a number of different tests and pain medications, Melody was still not finding a solution or relief to her pain. The PFC staff did not give up and continued to search for answers to Melody’s problem. “I was seen numerous times to really determine the problem and the most suitable physician for my condition.” Dr. Myron Smith and Dr. Edward Bope, two of the physicians who treated Melody at the clinic, arranged a free MRI to help diagnose the problem. The MRI revealed hat Melody had a narrowing of her spine causing discs to bulge and press on her nerves.
PFC’s Nurse Coordinator Katie Clark delivered the good news to Melody that she had been scheduled for surgery with Dr. Ward P. Buster. Dr. Buster performed a 5-hour surgery, removed discs 4 through 7 and replaced them with a metal plate. Melody felt instant relief right in the recovery room. The surgery reduced the pressure and the was pain was gone.
The work of the Physicians Free Clinic saw Melody through physical therapy and found her a family physician to provide ongoing care on a sliding fee scale. “The staff and physicians associated with PFC are caring and wonderful. They all told me that they would take care of me and fix my problem – and they did,” Melody says fondly.
Although it was recommended to Melody that she rest for at least three months, she returned to work 12 days later, still feeling 100% better and 10 years younger.
Much to Melody’s surprise, the Physicians Free Clinic extended a special invitation to her to attend a benefit and share her story with others. Melody was honored by the request. It was a black tie affair. “I was so happy to share my story with everyone and give thanks to the many people that helped me have my life back,” she remembers.
Melody will never forget her experience with the Physicians Free clinic or the countless doctors that donated their time and talents to helping her. This is the feeling that is often experienced by those who visit the PFC, people whose lives change each time they change the life of someone else.
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