Stop Six and a “gift from God”

December 14th, 2016

Teresa Turner wasn’t expecting Dr. Kent Brantly. In fact, she wasn’t expecting anything good at all as she drove with her father to the JPS Stop Six/Walter B. Barbour Health Center. But she was desperate.

Her father, Larry Turner, has dementia and diabetes that’s never been under control. Things got worse after his doctor of 30 years retired and he stopped taking all his medications except insulin, which he used haphazardly. Neuropathy was setting in. His spirits were low.

Claire Rodrigues, Larry Turner, Cathy Smiley

Clinical Pharmacist Claire Rodrigues (left,) with Stop Six patient Larry Turner and Nurse Cathy Smiley

Teresa Turner looked for a new doctor. Alas, “finding a doctor that would fit his needs and accepts Medicare was no easy task,” and Larry Turner rejected the ones she found. “He said he felt rushed — like he was just a number — and that his care really meant nothing to them. And he simply will NOT have a female doctor,” she said.

A friend asked if she had considered JPS. Out of ideas, she made an appointment and drove — “not a comforting drive” — to Stop Six in east Fort Worth, the JPS health center closest to home.

Trepidation soon turned to “awe.”

“At the reception desk they are consistently warm and kind,” Teresa Turner said. Patient Access Representative LaTonya Preston “has this way of making my daddy smile and feel like he is her favorite patient.”

Then there’s Nurse Cathy Smiley. “Goodness,” Turner said, “she is just amazing, sweet and kind, too. She talks to my daddy like she is talking to her own father and hugs him when she sees him.”

Claire Rodrigues, clinical pharmacist, “is the best thing to ever happen for my dad and his diabetes,” Turner said. “My dad has never had a controlled blood sugar,” but Rodrigues has him monitoring his blood sugar routinely and using short-acting and long-acting insulin to bring down his A1C, which indicates blood glucose control over time.

Dr. Kent Brantly with Patient

Dr. Kent Brantly with one of his patients at the JPS Stop Six/Walter B. Barbour Health Center in Fort Worth.

But their favorite is Dr. Brantly, trained in the Family Medicine Residency at JPS. Brantly became internationally famous, named Time magazine’s 2014 Person of the Year, after contracting the Ebola virus while working in West Africa. He is back home in Fort Worth, quietly doing what family doctors do best, improving lives and the health of the community served by Tarrant County’s safety net healthcare provider.

“Dr. Kent Brantly is a gift from God,” said Teresa Turner. “He is exactly what I wanted for my daddy. He does not rush my dad. He has taken the time to go through each of my dad’s medications to explain the importance of taking them daily and regularly, something not done by previous doctors. Dr. Brantly takes the time to listen to what my dad has to say and addresses everything.”

Larry Turner sleeps a lot during the day, his daughter said, “so getting him to take his medicine on a normal, regular schedule has been a challenge.” Brantly’s prescription: Work with Larry Turner’s normal. “I never imagined,” Teresa Turner said, “that I would hear a doctor say we need to work on Daddy’s schedule instead of trying to force Dad to a ‘normal’ schedule. This is exactly what my dad needs.”

“I can’t tell you,” she said, her eyes welling with tears. “It makes me feel so good to have someone who is so good to my dad.”

Declared Larry Turner, as he wrapped up a recent appointment at Stop Six, “I would trust him with my life.”

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