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Tue Jan 1, 2019, 04:17 AM

A retired doctor who made a difference.

The following was found on Facebook. It didn't have any sourcing, so I did a little digging. There is a link after the end of this story which confirms the validity of Jack McConnell. He died in 2018, but was one of those people who changed things for the better. Take time to check out the link, it's well worth your time and certainly belongs in the 'Good News' group:


Jack McConnell stopped to pick up a man who was walking down a dirt road without an umbrella on a drizzly day.
“Where you headed?” McConnell called out the window.
“To look for a job,” the man answered. “Any one I can get.”
“What’s your name?”
“James.”
“You married?”
“Yes. I’ve got two kids and my wife is pregnant with our third.”
“What do you do for medical care?” McConnell wondered. He was a retired doctor.
“We have to take care of ourselves,” James said. “No one else is going to help us.”
His answer would change thousands of lives across the country.
That man on a muddy road started Jack McConnell thinking about all the other people he’d seen trudging by him on the road—waitresses, maids, and the army of workers who preened his retirement paradise on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Six thousand working poor could rarely afford to see a doctor.
Jack McConnell decided to treat them for free, and soon began recruiting other retired physicians. At first, they resisted; few of them were licensed to practice in South Carolina, and some were worried they’d be sued and perhaps lose their life savings. McConnell persuaded lawmakers to waive the licensing fees and got cheap insurance that would cover everyone working in his clinic. The day I visited, he had three hundred thirty volunteers, doctors and nurses of all kinds, enough to help take pressure off the local emergency room, where many of the poor previously went for all their medical needs.
ER doctor Rob Clodfelter did the math. “If it saved us just four or five thousand visits a year, that’s a significant economic impact.”
But how “safe” were these older doctors?
“Two thirds of our physicians were medical school faculty,” Dr. Frank Bowen said. He was responsible for making sure that those retired doctors could still do the work. “They not only keep current, but they teach younger doctors, as well.”
The clinic does more than patch up poor people. Volunteers take the time to get to know patients as friends. as McConnell’s wife, Mary Ellen, explained, the clinic “brought the two communities together.” the haves and the have-nots have been able to communicate in a way they hadn’t been able to before.
Every patient has a story, but many people only tell their stories when asked. Celia Benitez mentioned she was having some hard times, even though she worked six jobs. The medical volunteers helped her out. In turn, her entire family showed up to clean the clinic every day after work.
“It’s my second home,” Cecilia laughed.
This country has a quarter of a million doctors who no longer practice medicine and two million nurses who have stopped taking care of the sick, even though many are still young enough to do so. McConnell cited these statistics as he gazed upon his own packed waiting room with an eye not blind to need. What he’d achieved in Hilton Head inspired others to open more than eighty volunteer clinics all around the nation. Those clinics are also always crowded.
“It’s not where you come from or where you’re going,” he said, “but who you help along the way that makes the difference in your life. I learned that lesson around my childhood dinner table. Every night, after my father would say the blessing, he would ask us, ‘What have you done for someone today?’ If you had nothing to say, pass the gravy and get on eating. but if you did, you were the hero of the night.”
Jack McConnell lost a lot of retirement time helping others, but found deep within himself the person he wanted to be.


For more info on Dr. Jack McConnell go to:

https://www.jambase.com/article/phish-dr-jack-mcconnell-page-died

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Reply A retired doctor who made a difference. (Original post)
Stonepounder Jan 2019 OP
akraven Jan 2019 #1
ancianita Jan 2019 #2
mountain grammy Jan 2019 #3

Response to Stonepounder (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2019, 05:24 AM

1. There IS a reason to hope.

Thank you, Dr. Jack McConnell (I saved the article as well) and thank you Stonepounder for a hopeful look into the new year.

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Response to Stonepounder (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2019, 09:52 AM

2. Wonderful story.

Hilton Head represents the the austerity economics of the subsidized corporate rich, right there.

We all need to stay awake to how the rich treat labor. It's laid out all over the world.

Tax havens throughout the world are just like it. Not just the U.S., which is the #1 tax haven, but The Caymans, Turks and Caicos, Jersey and Guernsey, Panama; with few exceptions, like Wilmington, Delaware, where few state citizens know they even live. Other than that one, very few.

This story reminds me that we who have skills can always find a way to put them to work that helps many others, and in far-ranging ways that we might never know.

It reminds me of Mr. Rogers' story of "the helpers."

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Response to Stonepounder (Original post)

Tue Jan 1, 2019, 09:54 AM

3. Thank you for posting this.

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