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RIHCA - Rhode Island Health Center Association

Success Stories

Saving a child’s life with a phone call

"I remember receiving a call from a mother one day. Her son was having trouble swallowing and she was quite upset. A prior attempt to have her son seen by the mother’s primary care doctor was unsuccessful. He could not fit her in, and based on the description she provided, he suggested it was just a sore throat. She was growing more concerned and yet she said the doctor was just not listening to her. She then called our health center and told us what was going on with her son. I asked her to explain a bit more. Based on what I heard, I told her that it sounded like his epiglottis was swollen, and that she should get him to the ER. The doctors in the ER said if you didn’t get him in here, he would’ve died."

Health Center Doctor

Helping diagnose and treat what others could not see.

"A young woman came in complaining of diarrhea and abdominal pain. She was unable to keep fluids down and was becoming dehydrated. She had already gone to the ER where they told her nothing was wrong. Lab work was done and everything appeared normal. She then came to see me. It was clear she was very sick. After looking at the labs, I could see she was not OK. She was extremely dehydrated. We sent her to the hospital and I called the ER to tell them who I was sending and why. I told them to do some labs and check on the results of the prior labs. A few hours later, I received a call from the ER saying they weren’t sure what to do because while I wanted her admitted and watched, they couldn’t find anything wrong with her. But they did admit her and ran some more tests. It turns out she had food poisoning. So with some antibiotics and fluids, she felt better the next day. She wouldn’t have gotten that if she’d gone back to the ER on her own. That’s what you feel really good about."

Health Center Doctor

Going the extra mile

"We had a patient who had become very sick. So sick that she was unable to go out and get the medication she needed for her illness. One of the nurses at our health center decided there was only one thing to do. After her shift had ended, she got in her car and drove over 30 miles out of her way and delivered the prescription to the patient. It’s not just about taking care of a person, it’s about really caring for them too."

Health Center Nurse