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Health Care District Team Goes the Extra Mile to Demonstrate “No Patient (Or Pet) Left Behind”

At 8:00 AM on a weekday morning, the staff at St. Ann Place, a West Palm Beach center that provides services to homeless women and men, found an 82 year old homeless woman outside their door. The woman had no identification or family and suffered from early dementia.

Image of Jackson the dogThe only papers she had were for her dog, Jackson. Before she would eat the food St. Ann provided her, she insisted Jackson eat first.

The staff at St. Ann Place called the Florida Department of Children and Families but the department determined the woman could live on her own.

Recognizing she needed medical care, two nuns from St. Ann Place escorted her to the Health Care District’s Mobile Clinic, which is often stationed near St. Ann Place, for a comprehensive medical evaluation. The Mobile Clinic’s staff waited outside with Jackson while she underwent examinations.

Based on the initial findings at the Mobile Clinic, Karen Harris, Vice President of Field Operations for the Health Care District, called for a more comprehensive health evaluation at the Edward J. Healey Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.

“As the health care safety net for Palm Beach County, cases like this exemplify our mission,” Harris said. “We had so many staff members going the extra mile for this patient. Being able to identify additional resources that can benefit patients is our goal.”

Staff at the Healey Center were alerted and stayed after hours to admit the patient. After additional examination, the woman was deemed a candidate for rehabilitative care and a bed at the Center was made available.

There was only one problem. The patient refused to stay overnight at the Healey Center unless she could bring her dog.

Image of Jeannine Garland with JacksonJeannine Garland, a Hospital Liaison for the Edward J. Healey Center, stepped up with a solution. Garland agreed to take the dog home and care for it while the patient received rehabilitative care.

“Jackson has been a great guest at my home and I’ve been taking him to the Healey Center every day to see his owner,” Garland said. “It was amazing to see so many different parts of our organization come together with one goal -- to help a patient who had urgent medical needs.”

“Jeannine truly went above and beyond to help this patient,” Harris said. “The way everyone worked together and improvised to help this woman just made me so proud to work for the District.”