Dr. Andrew Quint has been the Medical Director at Family Health Center in Columbia for many years. For the past 11 years, he has worked with nurse Beth Rahn. They spoke about the many patients they have seen over the years and how those patients have changed their lives.
Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org.
Dr. Andrew Quint: We have a lot of people here with depression and anxiety and some other behavioral health problems and a lot of people who have chronic pain. A lot of people who have done hard labor over the years and kind of worn out their bodies and now have a lot of pain issues.
That was probably the thing that surprised me the most coming here. I thought it would be trying to help people with things like high blood pressure and diabetes who didn't have health insurance and needed help with medications and testing, and there is a lot of that, but I didn't expect all the chronic pain, and I didn't necessarily understand how much mental illness there would be.
What do you think you would change about how the lives of our patients, if we could?
Beth Rahn: Well if I could change them, I wish that they could have - everyone could have insurance. Everyone could be able to get their meds. Not have those worries. That they had transportation, and I'm sure that they - I wish that they all could get to the grocery store. Get to stores. Their lives are so different than my life.
I wish I could give them my life, so they can have everything they ever wanted in life.
Dr. Quint: Is there a time you can think of when you really - like one particular case - where you think really change someone's life for the better?
Beth: Yeah I can remember a Christmas Eve a couple years ago a patient who had wounds on his leg and the dressings needed changed.
And he couldn't get here, and so I had talked to him on the phone, and he had told me that he hadn't eaten for a few days because he couldn't leave his apartment.
I went and picked him up some food. He needed antibiotics, so we called those in. I went and picked those up for him. Got him bandages that he could handle putting on. I stayed there awhile and if did a few house chores for him.
And, once again, he will probably be in my memory forever.
Dr. Quint: People are fond of saying that we have the greatest healthcare system in the world. And we have a - we do have some great things about our healthcare system. We have great doctors and nurses. We have incredible technology.
But I believe we have a very bad healthcare system that leaves a lot of people behind, and it causes unnecessary suffering, and I certainly would - if I had the power - I would certainly change our healthcare system, but I think one of the things that Beth and I are are kinda similar about is: You have the system that you have, so you don't beat your head against the wall about the system, you figure out a way around the problem. You solve the problem at hand with that one person who is in front of you at that moment, and you try to fix what you can. And then you move on to the next one.
Yeah I think we're a good team.
Beth: I think so.