Making A Difference One Patient At A Time
On a hot summer day in Chicago, the Daley Plaza was littered with booths from the CHEST Foundation’s Lung Health Experience event – each one manned by a nurse, respiratory therapist, or pulmonologist ready to perform complimentary spirometry tests.
The event grabbed the attention of John Doe, a disheveled homeless man passing by. He walked up to a booth, parked his cart of belongings, and asked to be tested. An initial questionnaire identified that he was a heavy smoker, participated in recreational drug use, and occasionally coughed up blood. Spirometry test results then indicated that he most likely suffered from obstructive lung disease.
Jay Peters, MD, FCCP, the physician performing the evaluation, accompanied by Eric Tan, a respiratory care practitioner, recommended that John seek treatment for his condition and possibly get a chest x-ray.
John took heed of that advice and 1 week later was admitted to Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH) for coughing and shortness of breath. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Coincidentally, John’s respiratory care practitioner at NMH was Eric Tan – the same volunteer who evaluated him at the Lung Health Experience event. When John recognized Eric, he thanked him for the Foundation event and the recommendation to follow-up with a chest x-ray. Without one, he would have never received his cancer diagnosis.
Before stepping out, John also thanked Eric for saving his life.
According to the NCBI, homeless individuals have a higher-than-expected prevalence of obstructive lung disease, which is why public health interventions should specifically target the homeless population for prevention and treatment.
THE STORY GOES ON
This is an incredible example of how the CHEST Foundation’s community-based programming impacts real lives, but the story doesn’t really begin, or end, here. Indeed, this is the second time Dr. Peters was involved at a Lung Health Event by helping a person who was living in a shelter receive the care they needed.
This initial event evolved during the CHEST 2018 Annual Meeting in San Antonio when an indigent man walked up to Dr. Peter’s booth requesting a spirometry test. The results indicated that he too had significant obstructive lung disease. Dr. Peters directed the man to the university clinic and personally worked with a social worker to get him a correct diagnosis and admittance into a smoking cessation program.
Familiar with the system, Dr. Peters also tapped into the patient-assist program, which enables the university to give patients free drugs based on their income. When all was said and done, the man was able to get medications for his COPD and be seen on a regular basis at a health-care clinic.
HELP ENSURE THE STORY CONTINUES
The Foundation’s Lung Health Experience event allowed two different people, in two different cities, to receive the appropriate treatment, care, and follow-up – treatment that they didn’t know they needed; care that they didn’t know they had access to; and follow-up that may have saved each of their lives.
And, it all happened because they stopped by a free community service event.
Our stories of community service highlight why the work we’re doing is more important than ever before. The grants that we provide are making a huge difference in the lives of patients today. Through these projects, we are helping those who are at risk for COVID-19 have the opportunity to be followed up by a health-care provider. Your continued support ensures that patients who are suffering in the midst of this pandemic are getting the help they need. Thank you for your generosity.
Lung Health Experience Events: Our lung health experience events bring together local respiratory therapists and leading lung health experts to the public in a fun and inviting atmosphere, allowing members of the community to begin the conversation about their lung health outside of the clinical setting and get their lungs screened.
OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE
COMMUNITY-BASED SERVICE AT ITS FINEST
Can a community service award represent a set of career defining principles? Can it motivate others to be more altruistic and embody one’s commitment to social responsibility?
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COVID-19 SHEDS LIGHT ON IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY SERVICE GRANTS
As COVID-19 continues to impact every aspect of our daily lives, the importance of our community service work has become more apparent than ever before.
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FINDING THE RIGHT OXYGEN AND DELIVERY SYSTEM CAN BE CHALLENGING
Imagine having your freedom taken away because you were prescribed the wrong medical equipment. Unfortunately, that’s the reality that so many oxygen-dependent patients face on a daily basis.
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YOUR CHEST FOUNDATION: SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES DURING COVID-19
The entire world has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis, yet many of our most vulnerable continue to suffer in silence. The CHEST Foundation is diligently working to help give voice to these all-too-often isolated and forgotten patients.
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The Donor Spotlight June 2020 issue is also available as a PDF Download the PDF»