Fostering Whole-Hearted Care

When a patient arrived in distress, Erie staff rallied to help her.

Erie prides itself as a place where patients feel comfortable in receiving care. Sometimes that care comes in unexpected ways, such as when a patient in distress came in after-hours in August 2021.

Jane[1], a deaf patient, showed up at Erie Foster Avenue Health Center around 5:30 pm with a suitcase and nowhere else to go. When she explained that she was fleeing a dangerous situation and felt unsafe at home, our team members at the front desk stepped up to the plate to find a virtual ASL interpreter so that they could provide the best help possible.

Community Health RN Alexis Simental, and Physician Assistant Mira Hager, stood by Jane from the moment she stepped into the health center until she left for safe housing and her return the next day.

Mira leaped right in to help when Alexis approached her about Jane, who outside of seeking refuge from a violent situation, was running low on vital medication.

While Mira and another nurse, Karla Cifuentes, worked with the patient to find her temporary housing through the Domestic Violence Hotline, Alexis put in a prescription for Jane at a local pharmacy and picked up the patient’s medication and some food for her to eat.

“I felt proud that we were able to help her when she felt so alone. It’s hard when someone is laying out everything in front of you, and they’re breaking down,” said Alexis.

Once Jane was situated, the team members worked with the Health Justice Project, a medical-legal partnership between Erie, Legal Aid Chicago, and the Loyola University School of Law, to support the patient while she transferred disability checks to her name.

These team members were able to help this patient while still going through their own struggles.

While this was Alexis’s first experience supporting a patient through something as heavy as domestic violence, this event marked Mira’s third encounter in 24 hours.

Nonetheless, this event shows the resilience and effort of our hardworking team members.

Erie was able to help Jane refill her medication, provide ASL interpretation, and connect her with temporary emergency housing and legal aid, all of which goes exceeds any medical care we provide.

“I could only have hoped that a nurse would be the same way towards myself or have a doctor who cared that much,” said Alexis.

By remaining true to Erie’s mission of ensuring everyone lives their healthiest lives and the ongoing commitment to addressing the community’s needs, our team members were able to offer high-quality care and a safe space for this patient.

[1] *Patient’s name has been changed to protect privacy.

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