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In Memory of Tommie Lanier

In The Spirit of Daddy:
Patients Will ALWAYS Have My Very Best!!

Timmy Lanier
Everyone who knows me knows that I only came into the healthcare business, or (to be politically correct but these days it seems more incorrect to call it) healthcare field, after my dad’s unfortunate experience in a medical facility that ultimately led to his demise.  Until then, I had accepted that I was destined to be a manual laborer and would retire as such.  I was an order selector in one of Publix’s warehouses for several years before finally moving up the ranks to forklift driver, then dock coordinator, and alas, inventory control coordinator before my unjust 
termination- which is a whole different story.  The day that my dad died, I was at work (Publix warehouse) when I received the call that my dad had gone into cardiac arrest.  I ran full speed out of the building, jumped into my car, and flew to the hospital only to miss my dad by 10 minutes.  I wanted to at least let my last words to him be that I loved him and not “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I stayed with his body, weeping intermittently for the next 3 hours until the funeral home director arrived and took him away. I remember watching them bag him up, put him on the stretcher, cover him with a plush cover, wheel him down the hall, and out of the back door.  I stayed watching; even said something when I thought the attendant was being a little too rough with my dad’s dead body, until he rolled away.  I sat with my face buried in my hands for about 5 minutes, put the pieces of me back together as best as I could, got into my car, shed one last group of tears, and drove off… back to Publix warehouse.  Everyone knew how close my dad and I were and knew that he had just passed away and many asked me how I could come back to work.  Truth was, I gave my heart and soul to Publix and I honestly felt that Publix really needed me and I just felt obligated to come back.  After how I was treated just a few months after, I promised myself that I would never, ever give my heart and soul and everything in me to another job.  Well… I’ve broken that promise.
I give my all to my patients.  I went to nursing school only to be able to take my dad out of the nursing home and bring him home with me.  I only wanted to learn how to take care of him.  I was content with working at Publix.  Unfortunately, when daddy went through his experience of poor care and sepsis on 3 different occasions, I hadn’t completed enough school to know that the care that daddy was receiving was absolutely horrendous and many of the decisions that were made regarding his care were more financially driven with the premium on saving a dollar over saving a life.  When he died, my drive to learn enough to safely care for daddy at home became a mission to make sure that no patient ever has to suffer like my daddy did and no family has to be devastated like we were.  Ever since I’ve finished school, I’ve been determined to give my patients and their families the very best of me. 
I’ll always advocate for my patients.  When I see concerned family members, my own experience comes into play and is reflected in my empathy for them.  I treat the patients the way that I would have wanted my dad to have been treated.  I often err on the side of caution because  life is fragile, and a delay could be disastrous.  I understand that health care is very expensive and labs and x-rays and CT scans and medications and consultations all cost money and for that reason, I am always mindful of being resourceful and never wasteful.  I never order obvious unnecessary items or anything that is unrelated to the patient’s condition for the sake of cost, but it all boils down to this:  the patients that I care for are much more than a business transaction to me and the day that this changes, I will walk away from the profession and not look back!  My patients know this.  They can see it in my detail and feel it in my care for them.  Maybe that’s why I garner such high praise from patients who vow to follow me wherever I go.  They are like I once was:  very limited in knowledge of medicine and therefore at the mercy of the medical professionals, hoping that they are sincerely doing everything in their power to reach the most positive outcome.  My patients literally trust me with their lives and I take that responsibility very seriously.
I was taught as a little child that no amount of money was worth a life.  Today, I understand that the balance scale in the healthcare field has shifted and ultimately the value of money seems to have sadly outweighed the value of a life.  In the spirit of my daddy though, my primary focus will always be on saving a life first and above all else because, in my opinion, there was no dollar amount worth my dad’s life and I am certain that the patients that I serve have family members that feel the same way about their lives also.   So, whether I am seeing patients at my clinic or at either of the hospitals that I am affiliated with, I will always give the very best of me and the spirit in me that guides my decisions in practice will always ask… if this patient was daddy, what would I do?
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