Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - 26

Improving
access to care
Volunteer medical clinics
help fill the health care gap
By Amber Lanier Nagle

26

Dot West of Calhoun has volunteered at the
Healing Hands Clinic of Gordon County since it
opened in 2014. She is also one of its founders.

Georgia Magazine

Safety nets for thousands
Free and charitable clinics like Healing Hands
are vital safety nets for people with no or insufficient
insurance around the state. Fueled by volunteers

March 2020

26-28_Volunteer_Med_Clinics_B_0320.indd 26

2/12/20 7:25 PM

AMBER LANIER NAGLE

AMBER LANIER NAGLE

A

small group of volunteers sat behind the
receptionist's window at Healing Hands
Clinic of Gordon County as a heavyset
woman made her way to the counter. She was visibly
weak and gasped for air with each step.
The volunteers quickly escorted the patient to
the back for an assessment, then into an examination room to see a doctor. Moments later, they called
for an ambulance.
"The paramedics took her to AdventHealth
Gordon Hospital," says Kim Gowens, who was
volunteering at the clinic that night. "That same evening, we learned she had been airlifted to Erlanger
[Hospital] in Chattanooga. We prayed for a good
outcome."
Four weeks later, a stranger approached the
counter at the clinic and said: "Remember me?
You guys saved my life." The mystery patient had
returned to deliver a personal "thank you" to those
who cared for her.
"We didn't recognize her at first. She looked
completely different-much smaller," Gowens
remembers. "She told us she had been treated for
heart failure and COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] and that her larger size the month
before was due to a buildup of fluids all over her
body."
The woman had recently moved to Calhoun
and had gotten so sick she couldn't get out to look
for a job, so she didn't have insurance or money to
pay a doctor.
"Our clinic was her last hope-her lifeline,"
Gowens says. "Together, we helped save her. That's
why all of us volunteer at the clinic."



Georgia Magazine - March 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - March 2020

Contents
Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - 4
Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - 5
Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - 6
Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - 7
Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - 8
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Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - March 2020 - Cover4
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