House Calls To The Homeless: A Doctor Treats Boston’s Most Isolated Patients
September 29, 2015
I remember one night I was struggling. Some man had come in – this is early on – some man had come in and said he was going to kill himself. And I was in the shelter clinic. And I – that’s an alarm for all of us in medicine, … Barbara came in, and she looked at the man and she said, so what’s going on?
He said well, I’m going to kill myself. And she said well, we don’t accept talk like that here in the clinic. If you want to talk like that, please go outside in the alley and talk to whoever you want about it, but we don’t talk like that.
And I was horrified that you don’t do that. And then as I learned later, Barbara had known this man for years, knew exactly where he was coming from. She knew how to handle him. And in fact, all he was looking for was some reassurance and that people knew him, and that was the way out.
And I started to realize there’s many, many ways to take care of homeless people, and the best ones are based on who knows that person best and who knows how to handle them best.