The Social Network
The power of social media sites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook is still something most of us have trouble wrapping our arms around. In little more than a decade these social networks have connected people, affected elections, brought social change and, in our case, connected a patient to much-needed medical care.
Nate Thornton is stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, but still keeps in touch at home with through occasional phone calls home and Facebook. Not long ago, Nate, who is from Calhoun, perused a community page that he rarely visits. There, he found a post from a woman asking if anyone knew where she could get a free breast exam.
Nate believes this was a moment of divine intervention.
“Mom, can you help this lady?”
Nate knew who would know the answer to the woman’s question. His mom, Tammy, schedules the Mobile Mammography Coach for The Breast Center at Floyd. And Nate has spent half his young life hearing his mom talk about her job and her passion for providing women with life-saving early detection of breast cancer. Nate replied to the woman by tagging Tammy in his comment, which was, “Mom, can you help this lady?”
Tammy took the conversation off line, and, in a private message, told the inquirer that she worked at The Breast Center at Floyd and gave the woman her office number.
The next day the woman called Tammy. She had lost her job and had no insurance. Her husband was on disability and had limited income. Tammy told her that The Breast Center has financial assistance programs for mammography. Her intention, she said, was to direct the patient to a screening mammography appointment Floyd provides at the Floyd County Health Department each August, but she first asked the lady if she was experiencing any specific problems.
She was. She had found a lump in one of her breasts.
Tammy explained that she would need a diagnostic mammogram and that, given the information she had offered, financial assistance was likely available to her. Concerned for her new acquaintance, Tammy told her that she should not let finances keep her from getting her mammogram. She then promptly connected her to The Breast Center’s scheduling department with a promise to follow up with her, as the weekend was approaching.
That evening, Tammy heard from the patient that her appointment was scheduled for the following Tuesday, and, true to her word, Tammy reached out to her again after her appointment.
The patient had cancer. She would need quick intervention.
Tammy told her not to worry, then connected her to Cancer Navigators, which has programs in place to ensure that cancer patients get the treatment they need at a price they can afford.
The patient is being treated now. And, it all started with question posted to a Facebook group in northwest Georgia, seen 260 miles away by a solider who knew from his mother’s passion about her job that help was available.