I was kind of innocent back in 1998. A new doctor fresh out of school. I didn’t know about our doctor suicide crisis. I didn’t know about the widespread human right violations in medical education. I didn’t know about assembly-line medicine or big-box clinics.
I just knew I wanted to help people. And after my first job I knew I couldn’t do that in 7-minute office visits.
So I quit to open an ideal medical clinic in my house—even though I didn’t have much money to do it. I lived simply. I shopped at Goodwill. So I could have the opportunity to care for people who needed me most—regardless of ability to pay. Twenty years later I’ve never turned anyone away for lack of money in my clinic.
Today I found this old TV news clip. It’s somewhat embarrassing, sort of hilarious and totally old school. Enjoy!
Reporter: Something old fashioned is happening in this South Eugene converted garage—medicine the way it used to be.
Dr. Wible: I wanted to put the emotion and the love and the care back into health.
Reporter: Dr. Pamela Wible opened her Tender Loving Clinic December 5th after working in a number of different practices.
Patient: I’m looking for more of a relationship with my physician . . .
Reporter: And Wible wants to give more that’s why she treats lower income people and those without insurance and those who only speak Spanish. She even makes house calls on two wheels.
Dr. Wible: Here’s my bike [squeaking my pink lamb horn—twice OMG 🙂 ]
Reporter: Her unusual approach is also evident inside the clinic she helped build. Towel bars made from limbs found in her backyard and fresh juice for every patient.
Patient: Yeah, I think it’s really important to have our healthcare needs be more centered towards the person.
Reporter: Wible charges a sliding scale fee with 20% off for anyone who rides a bike to their appointment.
Dr. Wible: In here we have the exam room . . .
Reporter: She bought her equipment used and offers just about every kind of service except surgery and delivering babies and most importantly she says she gives what’s missing most in modern medicine—emotional attachment to the patient.
Dr. Wible: That’s like a huge part of healing—is just to be present and have empathy for someone.
Reporter: Wible hopes her tiny clinic will have huge promise for people in search of a different kind of doctor.
My first ideal clinic led to a second ideal clinic. This time I held 9 town hall meetings and collected 100 pages of testimony. I adopted 90% of what my community wanted and in 2005 we opened the first community-designed ideal medical clinic—now replicated across the USA and even as far away as New Zealand! Read Journal of Family Practice article celebrating our clinic.