KOH2RVA: Day 46

Martin McCain

Yesterday I wrote about “The Memphis Model,” a partnership between hospitals and congregations to keep people healthy. I talked about how doctors and hospitals know about the things that lead to death, but pastors and congregations know about the things that lead to life. Consider the example of one man:

Every two weeks or so, this diabetic’s bad habits—drinking, getting high—landed him in Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare’s seven-hospital system in Memphis. During a hospital visit a couple of years back, a question sparked the beginning of the change.

“Who’s your pastor?” hospital staff member Blanch Thomas asked. The Rev. Martin McCain, pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, he responded. Ms. Thomas checked records and found the church was in Methodist Healthcare’s Congregational Health Network—the official title of the Memphis Model.

Ms. Thomas, who carries the title “navigator” in the network, called Dr. McCain. He unleashed some tough love on the man.

“I told him, ‘You have to take care of yourself if you want to be helpful to your girlfriend and your kids. You are too sick to be out running around with your fellas,’” Dr. McCain said.

Dr. McCain persisted, often tracking the man down on the streets. The pastor also kept in close contact with Ms. Thomas.

Today, the man—now 31—has made positive lifestyle changes that keep him away from the hospital for months at a time.

“I hate to even think about where he’d be if it wasn’t for CHN,” Ms. Thomas said of the network (by Nancy Hull Rigdon, the United Methodist Reporter, October 24, 2012).

Again, I wonder if we could do something like that in Richmond: create a partnership between hospitals and congregations that would give people life and not just save people’s lives. It’s not just “tough love” that people need. Some people need tender love. They need someone to bring them a casserole when they come home from the hospital, someone to remind them to take their pills, someone to drive them to a doctor’s appointment. All of those are ways of helping people stay healthy and stay out of the hospital. Wouldn’t that be a good way to bring heaven to earth?

3 thoughts on “KOH2RVA: Day 46

  1. Keeping people healthy, particularly the older ones, is what The Shepherd’s Center is all about. For 28 years, our volunteers have been getting seniors in Richmond to their medical appointments and grocery stores. Along with the rides, volunteers have found opportunities to provide much more to our clients – a kind word, a sympathetic ear, a helping hand. I am so grateful to be employed by an organization that cares about the well being of those in their community. I am blessed to be able to help bring the kingdom of heaven to earth every day.

  2. Interesting two days of KOH2RVA — what you just described in your last paragraph is very like the Personal Service wing of The Shepherd Center of Richmond — (FBC’s Endowment Fund in the past has contributed to TSCOR, but NOT recently! FBC is gracious in its hospitality for our Board Meetings monthly, for which we are very grateful! and we’ve used the van several times, under church policies) The Shepherd Center is the ONLY source of free transportation to doctors and grocery stores left in the city, and as we are a totally volunteer operated service group, we always need new drivers — anybody reading this is welcome to be in touch with TSCOR at 355-7282; we’d love to see you! There are lots of folks bringing heaven everyday to some of Richmond’s loneliest who have no family or friends nearby who can help!

  3. One thing First Baptist might do is to check with the Registered Dieticians in the Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital Diabetic Education department. One real “biggie” for everybody is DIET! I learned that the hard way by letting myself get way overweight and becoming a Type 2 Diabetic. Thankfully, medications are helping me, however, earlier this year, my blood sugar was getting way out of control. My Primary Care Physician gave me an option. She told me that I could either go to the abovementioned Dieticians OR I could start insulin. Hating needles as I do (I wimp out and have to have my wife stick my finger to check my blood sugar – she actually enjoys doing that, I tell her that I wonder if she is reallypart vampire ;>), I chose the Dieticians. Learning to not eliminate but cut way back on carbs(be careful with those casseroles, ha, ha) and other strategies, I have found my blood sugar coming down and my weight coming down. I went from an 11 A1C (the standard diabetes blood sugar test) to a 7 A1C in a fairly short time. Anyway, point being, seems to me that the “Memphis Model” partnership, between hospitals and congregations might be a very good idea. I hope that you all investigate it further and perhaps may be able to start it in Richmond.

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