A Patient’s Story: Emily

Emily P.One day, Emily was busy wrapping up a summer fellowship at a think tank downtown and emailing out her resume to prospective employers. She just graduated with a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins and was ready to start tackling those student loans!

The next morning, instead of commuting into the District for work, she was heading to urgent care in an anxious blur after almost passing out in the kitchen as she was making breakfast. Emily had been on her school’s health insurance for most of the summer, but it had run out before she was able to secure a job with benefits. The urgent care center sent her straight to the emergency room where they ran tests and found blood clots in her lungs.

Suddenly, school loan repayment was the least of her worries. There were huge costs related to her ER visit and hospital admission—not to mention a serious new condition requiring expensive medication and a lot of careful monitoring.

Virginia Hospital Center referred Emily to Arlington Free Clinic, and two days later she became our patient. Our nurse practitioner saw her every couple of weeks to review her lab results and to make sure that she was responding well to the treatment. Emily had to be placed on blood thinners and was carefully monitored to ensure her blood was neither too thin—putting her at risk for excessive bleeding—nor too thick—putting her at risk for another pulmonary embolism, additional hospital time, or even a stroke.

Emily credits AFC for saving her physically, mentally and financially. Arlington Free Clinic was able to provide Emily the support she needed to get back on her feet—she accepted a great position, with insurance benefits, about a month and a half after coming to AFC.

“I know that I’m privileged. I speak English, have a master’s degree and was able to get a pretty good job. But I still ended up in an awful medical situation and experienced the terrifying reality of not knowing what to do.”