"For years, no doctor ever took the time to figure out what was wrong. No one noticed the blockage until I came to the Free Clinic.”
-Suzanne, an LFC patient
When Suzanne came to the Loudoun Free Clinic, she had no idea her life was about to change. Until a few years ago, Suzanne had health insurance and a full-time job. Then in 2005 Suzanne received the heartbreaking news that her mom had cancer. Devastated, she took time off work to help care for her mom. She was let go not long after, and lost her health insurance. For the next few years Suzanne cared for her mom while struggling with health issues of her own. High blood pressure and seizures from a car accident years earlier landed Suzanne in the hospital over and over, until she could no longer afford to provide for her own medical care. Without any other option, Suzanne finally came to the Loudoun Free Clinic.
During Suzanne’s first visit, the providers at LFC made an alarming discovery: An abnormal sound in the artery leading from her heart to her brain. She was sent immediately for an ultrasound, which confirmed our worst fear. Suzanne had a serious blockage that prevented blood from getting to her brain, leaving her at risk of stroke and even death. The Clinic Staff reacted quickly, reaching out to Dr. Russell McDow and Dr. Brita Kriss, two of our dedicated volunteer specialists in the field. Drs. McDow and Kriss confirmed the diagnosis and scheduled Suzanne for immediate surgery to remove the blockage and repair the artery.
Thanks to the quick action and generosity of our volunteers and community partners, Suzanne had a successful surgery and is well on the road to recovery. “If it weren’t for Drs. McDow and Kriss, there could have been a very different outcome, “ said Pati Nicholson, the LFC Physician Assistant who first discovered the blockage. “Suzanne was in significant danger, and our volunteer doctors literally saved her life.”
LFC was able to provide Suzanne’s medical care through the generosity of volunteers, our medical referral network and our in-kind and financial donors. Without the Clinic and its supporters, Suzanne could have lost her life. Her story is a reminder to all of us that every single person has the ability to make a difference.