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Thankful Patient Appreciates Treatment at Washington Urgent Care

June 10, 2011

 Outstanding Care’ Was Literally a Breath of Fresh Air 

Anyone who has ever experienced a severe asthma attack knows how scary it can be. For Kelly Douglas, it was doubly frightening when she had a serious attack on a Saturday in late March. She was scared not only by the intensity of her breathing difficulties, but also by the daunting prospect of paying out-of-pocket for medical care. The 47-year-old construction worker had been laid off from her job and consequently lost her health insurance coverage.

"I was in a panic," she recalls. "I had a cold, and everything was in bloom so there was lots of pollen in the air. I simply couldn’t catch my breath, even when I used my ‘rescue’ inhaler. I called a local walk-in clinic, but they refused to see me because I didn’t have health insurance. Fortunately, they did refer me to Washington Urgent Care."

Ms. Douglas called Washington Urgent Care and was told to come in right away.

"They made it clear they would see me immediately," she says. "I live in Fremont, so it wasn’t too far away, but it took me awhile to get there because I was really winded. When I finally arrived at Urgent Care, they didn’t make me wait in line, even though other people were there ahead of me. They recognized how serious my asthma attack was. One of the nurses on the staff, Jeannie Sy, just put her arms around me and walked me into the examining room."

The Urgent Care staff immediately put her on oxygen while checking her blood pressure and the level of oxygen in her blood. Then they connected her to a nebulizer – a breathing machine that delivers inhaled asthma medications.

"I have asthma myself, so I really sympathized with her situation," says Jeanvie Enero, LVN, one of the Washington Urgent Care nurses caring for Ms. Douglas. "We had her on oxygen and the nebulizer for several hours because her blood oxygen level would drop again whenever we took her off. We didn’t want to release her until we were sure she was stable."

The attending physician, Dr. Howard Pelovitz, also was concerned about the low blood oxygen level. He finally gave Ms. Douglas an injection of prednisone (a steroid that can help reduce inflammation in the lungs), after which she started improving more quickly.

"I realize now that I probably wasn’t absorbing the oxygen well because I am anemic," Ms. Douglas notes. "Even though I knew I have anemia, I didn’t know there was a connection between that and my blood oxygen level."

(Anemia is a condition in which the body does not have enough healthy red blood cells. Red blood cells transport oxygen to body tissues.)

When Ms. Douglas finally was able to leave Urgent Care, the doctor authorized prescriptions for prednisone pills and maintenance inhalers, and nurse Enero called the prescriptions in to a low-cost pharmacy.

"I noticed that she was a self-pay patient, so I called around to find a pharmacy with the lowest cost," says Ms. Enero. "Because there’s such a high level of unemployment these days, we are seeing more and more patients who are self-pay, and we do our best to help them control their medication costs. Also, uninsured patients who are residents of the Washington Hospital Healthcare District receive a discount of 55 percent off their charges at the time of service."

Much to her relief, Ms. Douglas did qualify for the discount on her medical care – including a chest X-ray to make sure she didn’t have pneumonia. "I really appreciated having the option of making monthly payments or getting a discount for paying cash," she remarks. "When I was checking out, they also gave me referrals to other free and low-cost services."

Providing high-quality, compassionate care to patients like Ms. Douglas is the goal of staff members at Washington Urgent Care. "The people I work with are all very caring, and they know how to handle urgent cases," explains Ms. Enero. "We try to provide the highest quality care to every patient, every time."

Ms. Douglas comments: "I’ve never received the kind of care I got from the people at Washington Urgent Care. The people were so kind and attentive, even when I was semi-hysterical. They didn’t leave me alone when I needed someone there. If I ever need medical care again, I’m making a beeline for Washington Urgent Care. I really believe they saved my life!"

Urgent Care When You Need It

Washington Urgent Care is located at 2500 Mowry Avenue, Suite 212, (Washington West) in Fremont. Washington Urgent Care is open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. No appointment is necessary. For more information, please visit: www.whhs.com/urgentcare or call (510) 791-2273.