At Orange Blossom Family Health (a caring service of Health Care Center for the Homeless), we serve homeless and low-income housed but uninsured or under-insured patients in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties through our main Orlando site and three (about to be four) satellite sites. One of our providers here at our main location on Orange Blossom Trail, Dr. Chianta Lindsey, DNP, ARNP, was excited to introduce me to one of her patients. Robert is one of her health successes and he was very happy to share his story.
Like so many others in our community and across the country, Robert lost his construction job when America faced its economic decline a few years ago. He was unable to find employment as time progressed and arthritis eventually took hold, keeping him from seeking future jobs in his field. Robert was unemployed, uninsured, and had no income but he wasn’t homeless – he had a friend willing to give him a place to stay.
Now 60 years old, Robert has been a patient at our main Orange Blossom Family Health site since 2012. When Robert came for an appointment in September of 2014, he was dealing with COPD and feeling some chest pain. His provider sent him for a chest x-ray, which discovered a mass in his right lung. After a radiology referral for a CT scan, Robert was diagnosed with lung cancer in October.
Through our onsite Orange County referral specialist, Lawanda Barns, we were able to connect Robert with an oncologist. After meeting with the oncologist in December 2014, surgery was performed in January of this year. He received a right lower lobe lobectomy, removing a roughly 6 centimeter cancerous tumor. Robert is more than happy to show off his surgical scar and is so grateful for the life-saving care he has received.
Following the surgery Robert received four rounds of chemotherapy as a precautionary measure. He went for follow-up scan in June and the doctor could not see any more cancer at this point. He is due for another scan in September and additional scans every three months for a year. We all have the greatest hope that Robert is, and will remain, cancer free.
Robert’s sister, Kathy, has been with him every step of the way providing support and transportation. She was amazed at how the process moved so well from diagnosis to surgery, especially since her brother has no insurance. Her overall impression of Orange Blossom Family Health was how gracious everyone had been, from those within our clinic to those who helped on the secondary care side. She stated it made her feel good to see her tax dollars supporting an organization like Health Care Center for the Homeless and the services we offer. Both Robert and Kathy feel we have taken very good care of him.
Stories like Robert’s are what Health Care Center for the Homeless and our Orange Blossom Family Health clinic sites are all about. Where you live shouldn’t determine whether you live and the lack of insurance shouldn’t either. And in Dr. Lindsey’s words, “Robert’s story is a testament to my personal mission and the mission of Health Care Center for the Homeless…to save lives.”
We look forward to being able to share more and more patient success stories over the coming months. Let us know what you think about Robert’s health success.