Caring for Community Across Four Generations:
Gloria’s mom wasn’t the only person in the family who was a patient at La Clínica. Gloria’s husband, Richard, was also a patient at La Clínica for nearly 50 years. “It was through him that I first saw how thoughtful La Clínica was,” she recalls.
People who do not have a regular doctor or health care provider are less likely to obtain preventive services or diagnosis, treatment, and management of chronic conditions. Having a medical home — a regular doctor or a usual source of care — facilitates obtaining health care when needed.
Moreover, people with chronic conditions require more health services, increasing their interaction with the health care system. If the providers, organizations, and systems are not working together to provide culturally competent and compassionate whole-person care, patients are at higher risk of having negative health consequences.
Richard didn’t trust the medical system, but he learned to trust the care team at La Clínica. This started with a trip to the ER to remove a hernia. Later, Richard was having heart problems when Dr. Bayard was introduced to the family. Dr. Bayard referred Richard to a heart specialist. Richard needed open heart surgery and five bypasses. During the surgery, they discovered that Richard had prostate cancer. That was his first cancer. Later, he was diagnosed with lymphoma. Once a month, he would go to La Clínica to get blood work and treatment for his cancer.
“That was a stressful time for my husband with all the health problems he was facing,” remembers Gloria, “but I saw how dedicated they were and how La Clínica truly cared for my husband to make sure he was comfortable and confident and that everything was going to be fine. Whenever he walked into the waiting room, the nurses and reception staff were so friendly,” she says.
Richard then got congestive heart failure and continued to have problems with his prostate. He was hemorrhaging and having to wear a catheter. He was then diagnosed with bone cancer and needed radiation treatment. Gloria helped Richard get hospice care, but his health suffered more because of the medications they gave him. Once again, Dr. Bayard intervened to get him the proper treatment.
It has been 15 years since Richard passed away from pneumonia. He was not very outgoing, so he didn’t have many friends. But he came to trust the care team at La Clínica and especially Dr. Bayard, who he saw as an older son. He respected him and had confidence in him.
Throughout the nearly 50 years of care Richard received, La Clínica and his care team were always by his side and followed his health closely. It was quite a journey for him. “My husband was fortunate to have such a dedicated team of providers and professionals,” says Gloria as she looks back on his journey.
Despite all of his health challenges, Richard Figueroa never forgot to give back. He served on La Clínica’s Board of Directors advocating for patients and working to ensure the mission of serving all in the community. We are grateful for his service and his humanity.