Bradenton, FL – The Manatee Chamber of Commerce awarded their 2019 Champions of Healthcare Awards on June 20th at the Grove Restaurant in Lakewood Ranch. Turning Points Volunteer and Board Member, Dr. David Law, received the Lifetime Achievement Award; Turning Points Volunteer, David Miller, received the Adult Volunteer Award; Turning Points Partner, The Eye Center Vision Foundation, received the Institution and Program Award. Congratulations to all of the finalists and the winners in all of the categories.
Dr. David Law is a board certified pulmonologist who has practiced medicine in Manatee County since 1982. Dr. Law states growing up in the south familiarized him with poverty and lack of access to medical care and their consequences. In his own family, several members struggled with homelessness and received assistance from organizations similar to Turning Points or were not so fortunate and received no care. During his medical training at the University of Alabama an emphasis was placed on providing care to the under and uninsured, including serving at indigent care facilities. His compassion for the population Turning Points serves grew from this background and experience as well as from his work in his group practice in Manatee County. There the policy, which reflected the attitude of the providers, was to serve everyone who needed care regardless of their ability to pay or lack of insurance. Turning Points began making referrals to his practice more than eight years ago!
He retired from private practice three years ago, and immediately became an invaluable volunteer for Turning Points, not only serving a full day a week in the clinic, but also committing to the board of directors, currently as the medical committee chair. He especially enjoys mentoring medical students from LECOM that work in our clinic. When we were recruiting a new medical director this past year, there was a period of time (about six months) that we did not have someone to supervise volunteer physicians and were worried about how to provide coverage. Dr. Law willingly offered to serve as the interim Medical Director and did a fantastic job, serving until November 2018.
What makes Dr. Law so special? His calm, respectful, and compassionate demeanor which is greatly appreciated by staff, volunteers and clients alike! As a pulmonologist he specializes in treatment of asthma, allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (which may of our clients suffer from) and other lung conditions. What difference has he made during his time here? Just a few stories: He found a mass in the left lung of a woman presenting with a cough and weight loss and facilitated the successful removal of her left lung. A family deeply distressed by their son’s inability to stay awake to the point it was preventing him from holding a job brought him to the clinic. He also couldn’t drive because of the fear of falling asleep behind the wheel! Dr. Law facilitated home sleep testing which resulted in a diagnosis of severe obstructive sleep apnea. The client was provided with a CPAP machine and started on therapy which resulted in a drastic improvement in his condition, enabling him to go back to work. Another client, a middle aged man presented with severe chronic shortness of breath and a history of ER visits and hospitalizations. He has received long term medical treatment and also medication assistance with our in house prescription assistance program and now has an improved quality of life and no hospitalizations for over a year!
David Miller arrived at the One Stop Clinic two years ago volunteering to provide options for pain management. Pain is something everyone experiences at some time in their life to some degree, but for many people, pain plays a major role in their existence and even defines their life. Even with healthcare insurance, option for pain management is limited and rightly so since traditional medications are responsible for the addiction of millions of people to opiates, with resultant devastating effect. With no insurance, options for pain management are even more limited, so clients coming to Turning Points seeking relief for chroin pain were difficult for us to treat, before David Miller arrived.
Even before entering the medical field David had always been interested in working with kids and teens fostering a young girl while her mother was in jail, volunteering at a shelter for abused children, and working at a Rehabilitation Center on an Indian Reservation. He has lived in Asia where he studied with a Kung Fu Master, lived as a lay-monk, and engaged in many volunteer activities for the benefit of children. While he began his medical training in China, he returned to the US after the World Trade Center attacks and finished his Chinese medical degree in New York City while continuing his extensive volunteer work including joining the Guardian Angels patrolling subways at night.
In Florida, in addition to his private practice, David felt a calling to start a pain program for the homeless and underserved. At Turning Points he has been involved in treating nearly 1,000 clients with pain complaints, along with two students of the East/West College that he has mentored. He and his assistant(s) have treated several cases of stroke and spinal cord injury for free at Sarasota Memorial Hospital as well as at Heartland nursing home. Since many of our Turning Points clients were nervous about acupuncture, he created a painless needle insertion technique using gate theory in neurology which overloaded nerve synapses. With no fear of insertion pain of the needles, client confidence greatly increased!
David is a positive person with a soothing, calming demeanor that inspires hope for our clients who often have been suffering for years with major pain. When we received a letter from a client last year, expressing his deep gratitude for the successful treatment from Dr. Miller, | realized to what extent his practice was impacting people. The client wrote an emotional letter stating he had suffered for years with pain that was so absorbing it made living day to day a nightmare. Prior to seeing Dr. Miller he had considered whether living life like this was really worth it and had seriously considered suicide.
The doctors at the Eye Center are not only committed to giving their patients excellent care, but they are also passionate about helping others, especially children, who may not be able to afford the eye care they need. That is why they created the Eye Center, Inc. Vision Foundation. This is a nonprofit organization committed to providing eye care and glasses to underprivileged children in Manatee County, FL. Its purpose is exclusively charitable.
Through the Vision Foundation, and with the direction and guidance of the Manatee County school nurses, they are able to provide free eye examinations and a complete set of glasses to any Manatee county student in need. The Vision Foundation also supports and provides glasses to the patients at Turning Points in Bradenton, FL. Turning Points’ mission is to provide, coordinate, and facilitate services to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Manatee County. The Vision Foundation also helped to furnish the Eye Clinic room at Turning Points. A complete and thorough eye examination is offered to One Stop Clinic primary care patients who fail the general eye exam during their primary care visit. The Eye Clinic examination will include and facilitate testing for cataracts, glaucoma, retinal diseases (from diabetes or other causes), treating minor eye injuries, determining prescriptions, measuring existing prescription glasses, writing prescriptions for new glasses, determining systemic diseases, prescribing medications and referring patients for special tests, surgeries and laser treatments. Photos of the retina and optic nerves will be taken to compare for future exams or to send out to specialists. Prescriptions for glasses can be filled at the Eye Center through the Eye Center Inc. Vision Foundation.