Christian Doctor’s New Approach to Healthcare

Films / USA

About The Film

Filmed over 5 days in Greeneville, TN, Dr. Robert introduced us to a view of vocation as ministry that we had never seen before. We discovered him from a friend who sat in a chapel sermon Dr. Robert gave at Palm Beach Atlantic University. For this film we went in not entirely sure what the theme would be but knowing we wanted to learn from this man of faith. Soon we saw how Robert was daily living out the story of the Good Samaritan in ways that challenge us constantly.


We’re working to serve ministry leaders & pastors. Click to learn more.

[location: USA, length: 4:57]

A small-town doctor struggles with the consequences of following his conscience.  [location: USA, length: 4:57]

Filmed over 5 days in Greeneville, TN, Dr. Robert introduced us to a view of vocation as ministry that we had never seen before. We discovered him from a friend who sat in a chapel sermon Dr. Robert gave at Palm Beach Atlantic University. For this film we went in not entirely sure what the theme would be but knowing we wanted to learn from this man of faith. Soon we saw how Robert was daily living out the story of the Good Samaritan in ways that challenge us constantly.


We’re working to serve ministry leaders & pastors. Click to learn more.


Robert:
When I started this clinic, I was hoping that more doctors would follow my lead and join me maybe even part time but no one did and in fact over the last 8 years, it seems I've become somewhat of a pariah or an outcast. When I used to work in the ER, I was making good living and very comfortable. We saw a number of uninsured patients and I recognized that a lot of these patients were my neighbors. Some of them literally my neighbors. People like barbers, sawmill operators, workers at convenient stores, mechanics. I had to see these people every day who I know could be treated more compassionately or cost effectively in another setting. I felt like basically even though I was working in the ER, I was walking around them and I was not being a neighbor to them. I kept asking myself the question is this what a good Samaritan would do. I really sensed in my heart that God wanted me to provide medical care for this people outside of the ER and who was I to question what God wanted to do. About 8 years ago, I opened PATMOS EmergiClinic, to provide care for the uninsured. On average, I have about 5000 patient visits a year. About 60% of those don’t have insurance. About 25% have high deductible commercial insurance. So, how are you feeling today?

Patient #1:
I couldn’t sleep very well.

Robert:
Did you take you blood pressure medicine this morning at all?

Patient #1:
No? I didn’t take it.

Robert:
Okay. All right. A lot of people thought what I was doing was foolish and they probably were right. In the eyes of the world, I think it is foolish but God has a different strategy. He tends to choose the foolish things in the world to shame the wise. Taking care of the uninsured, that's the ultimate foolishness in healthcare today. The last 8 years trying to more authentically be a follower of Christ is a lot of times struggles. Struggle financially. I’ve foregone quite a large amount of income. The struggles of recognizing that my skills are deteriorating from the ER but the biggest cost really are probably with my kids because I’ve foregone putting money aside for their college education. My kids didn’t have a choice in that and that bothers me. I wonder sometimes if it's really worth it? I could work maybe a shift or 2 in the ER for a week and do as well financially as I am now and have a lot more time off to do other things, spend time with my family. I don’t know. How are you doing?

Patient #2:
I've been worried about my toe. This morning, it was swelled and throb a little bit.

Robert:
You aren’t going to go to the ER?

Patient #2:
Uh uh.

Robert:
The reason you won't go to the ER is what … I mean that thing need to be fixed.

Patient #2:
It’s Expensive. I'm being garnished for 12 years ago.

Robert:
Well, let's take a look at it.

Patient #2:
That's tender right there.

Robert:
Does it feel sharp right there?

Patient #2:
No It's just in certain place.

Robert:
I'm going to get you basically 20 days of this medicine. Take it twice a day. All right. Let me get you a work excuse ?

Patient #2:
No (laughing)

Robert:
Joe was a guy who got good care, he wouldn’t have gotten good care. That's satisfying. He would have been another invisible casualty of our healthcare system. Somebody who would have fallen through the cracks and somebody I was able to help. Take it easy now.

Patient #2:
I'll do it. All right, buddy. Thanks.

Robert:
It's been worth the risk, I think, because I’m kind of afraid of the type of person I would have become had I continue doing what I was doing. To become more hardened and callous and willingly blind.

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