When Dennis Oller walked in to the Englewood Community Care Clinic with wounds on his leg, he had exhausted all of his other options for care in the Englewood area.
He had been picking tangerines when he fell and injured his leg on a fence, and it just wasn’t healing properly. Without insurance and unable to pay out-of-pocket, he had been treating himself with Neosporin and Band-Aids.
Fortunately, Melissa Joiner told him about the clinic, and just in time.The Englewood Clinic treated his wounds for several weeks, but they just weren’t healing. When Bob Melvin, one of the founders of the clinic and a Boca Grande businessman, got involved, Dennis had two areas where bone was exposed, one on his knee and one on his shin.
Realizing that this was a case above and beyond the abilities of the clinic, he went into action. He called in a favor at Fawcett Memorial in Port Charlotte and got Dennis seen by a specialist who promptly admitted him. After weeks of getting nowhere in treatment, it was discovered that he had issues with blood flow that were keeping his leg from healing. It took a 5 1/2 hour vascular surgery and a two-week stay in the hospital to restore blood-flow to his leg, and 80 days later, Dennis is still being treated with IV antibiotics.
He is receiving the antibiotics free of charge through the offices of Dr. Mark Asperilla, who helped to found the clinic. The mission of the clinic is to provide free episodic care and medication to the uninsured of Englewood.
The clinic is modeled after the Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic, which started as the St. Vincent de Paul free pharmacy in 1999.
When a patient survey revealed that 25 percent of the patients seen at Virginia B. Andes were travelling from Englewood to the Port Charlotte location, the need for a clinic local to Englewood became obvious. Dr. Raymond James, chief of medicine at Englewood Community Hospital, and Drs. Klein and Asperilla began planning the clinic, which is located in the Health Department facility on San Casa.
Both clinics support themselves through donations and grants, as well as through the time of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, patient advocates, and support staff who provide their services for free.
The clinic is always looking for donors. They hope to one day have their own Virginia B. Andes – a major donor whose gift will allow the clinic to greatly extend their ability to help for years to come.
The Englewood Community Care Clinic is open Mondays and Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. The schedule is designed to accommodate the many patients who have jobs during the day.
If you are interested in giving your time or money to a cause that directly helps people in the Englewood area, please call Executive Director Beth Harrison at (941) 681-3765 or (941) 223-3780, or get in touch with Bob Melvin here on the island at (941) 380-8891.
As for Dennis, given treatment and time, he is expected to make a full recovery. A fact that his friends and family are very grateful for.
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