Skip to main content


Last month, our community lost an angel.  A woman whose caring and compassion affected not only me personally, or those of us here on The Great Orange Satan, but the DFW metroplex and the State of Texas.

Come with me below the fold so we can talk about a woman who I was lucky enough to call my friend.

I know that we've already had a condolence thread for our dear friend and fellow Kossack, drchelo.  What many of us perhaps didn't know, in fact what I didn't know until I asked around, is how much she affected the lives of so many others during her own far-too-short life.

She was the first woman to specialize in hematology and oncology at Baylor University Medical Center here in Dallas.  Ever.  Talk about breaking down walls/ceilings.

However, where her example of the kind of change health care needs shines brightest is perhaps her work as medical director (and honestly, one of TWO employees) at the Trinity Works Medical Clinic for the homeless.  It might be best to let her words speak here instead of mine.  From her diary last June:

At the Industrial District warehouse location, most of our patients were street people, and some who lived in subsidized housing and worked, either in the sheltered workshop or low-paying jobs.  As time went on, word got out "on the street" that there was a free walk-in clinic and the patient numbers grew to where I was seeing about 60 patients a week in the teeny little clinic.  Foot problems were a large part of the practice, as people who live on the streets had little opportunity to change their socks, people living in shelters rarely removed their shoes (they were likely to be stolen), and folks spent all day essentially walking around.  We would buy socks and Desenex spray in bulk.  Often Jackie would have three or four patients with their feet soaking in antiseptic footbaths, and she would pare calluses, trim toenails, and doctor blisters - literally washing the feet of the poor.

60 patients a week in a 700 sq ft space.  Amazing.

After her passing, this woman who had been so kind to me during my father's death (she was not only my friend, she was my landlady as well), this woman who really could have done anything she wanted (she often played the fiddle at the North Texas Irish Festival, too)... this woman's life spoke to me.  She didn't ask "what can I do?"  She just did it.

I think the fact that such a clinic is even required in this, the "richest country in the world", speaks volumes about what is wrong with our health care system.  No one should go without a basic level of medical care.  Not Bill Gates, and not the gentleman who asks for money on Stemmons Freeway every afternoon with his gorgeous little yellow lab puppy.  No one.

I was perhaps most moved to tears when our across the way neighbor asked about her and I had to inform him that she had passed.  His eyes welled up and he said, "You know, she saved the lives of so many people with HIV back in the day... she made HOUSE CALLS.  HOUSE CALLS.  The world lost an angel, I'm telling you."

Yes, yes it did.  Rest in peace, my friend.  May your vision of selfless health care come to some sort of fruition for your legacy.

Just to let you all know:  Dinner tonight is later than normal... so I won't be able to hang out in the comments for a while.  Thanks for reading, and talk to you soon. :)

Originally posted to Inside Loop 12 on Thu Jul 30, 2009 at 06:00 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site