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Lucia was suffering for weeks from headaches that were getting progressively worse.  Nothing was relieving her pain and sleeping had become impossible.  By the time she arrived at Community Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM) she knew something was seriously wrong, but, despite her concerns, she never expected to receive a life-threatening diagnosis.

With her daughter translating, she learned that it was imperative that she get an MRI of her brain.  “I do not have health insurance and this is a very expensive procedure, but Dr. Mary arranged for me to go to Paoli Hospital and told me the cost would be taken care of.”

In Lucia’s words, “Paoli Hospital was amazing.  They had already talked with Dr. Mary and knew all about my case.” If not for CVIM’s quick response and collaboration with Paoli Hospital, Lucia would not have received the MRI that found a brain aneurysm.  Within hours, CVIM and Paoli Hospital made arrangements for her transfer to Thomas Jefferson Hospital where she underwent immediate neurosurgery, which successfully stopped the slow bleeding in her brain.

Only two months after surgery, Lucia shares her story of complete recovery.  “I have my life because CVIM paid attention to what I was feeling.  I thanked Dr. Mary for saving my life but she said the process was a team effort with Paoli Hospital and Thomas Jefferson Hospital.  No words can express my gratitude.”

Lucia’s story is but one celebrated example of how Volunteers in Medicine clinics and the collaborative partnerships within their communities can change patient’s lives.

Community Volunteers in Medicine in West Chester, Pennsylvania, is part of the VIM Alliance which shares best practices to improve the delivery of patient care in its clinics.



Posted on

November 14, 2012