Care of Indigent Child Merrill's Chief Concern
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THE SHREVEPORT TIMES Thursday, Feb. 10, 1972 * *# (Times Photo by John A. Moore) Pediatrician Dr. Robert E. Merrill . . . no health care for some children 1 Care of Indigent Child MBey rMrarigalrelt 'sM arCtin hief Concern Times Medical Writer The experts in medicine who know about such matters con-sider Dr. Robert E. Merrill an expert in the fields of treatment of handicapped children and immunization. He thinks of himself simply as a pediatrician "who is interest-ed mostly now in the delivery of health care to children — particularly the indigent child." Merrill * worries that many children in Arkansas get no health care — "not a question of good health care or bad health care, but no health care." He t h i n k s with thepostive health c are he can break the "poverty breeds poverty cycle." Merrill, who has been head of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of A r k a n s a s Medical Center for six months, has an immensely interesting classroom delivery. He is here to speak to a seminar sponsored by the De-partment of Pediatrics of the Louisiana State University Med-ical School at Shreveport. He hardly looks like someone who would be proponent of simple, but relatively revolu-tionary, ideas in the field of health care. Experiment Planned The pediatrician is planning an experimental health care unit which will be built "in rural Arkansas" some place and will make use of the pediatrician at one end of a triagle; nurse clinicians in the middle and "health expediters" at the other end. The health expeditors, Merrill said in an interview will t>e "blacks in a black community, Cajuns in a Cajun community and whites in a white communi-ty." They will be trained along horizontal levels, "knowledge-able in all areas — nursing, nutrition, social welfare, even sanitation." "They will do what needs to be done without regards to training," he said. They will be young people, he said, who can speak the lan-guage of the community, be-cause they live in the communi-ty. And he hopes they will b e c o m e the professionals of tomorrow. The health expeditors, Merrill explained, will not treat pa-tients, but it is these local young people who will notice that "a well is below the privy and can discuss necessity of correcting that. "They might notice a young-ster scratching his bottom, and get a bowel stool or anal swab for tests for pin worms," he said. Or they can tell the mother what the baby needs to eat or talk to her about family plan-ning. And, he emphasized, these local health workers would refer a sick c h i l d to the nurse clinicians, who will refer him to the pediatrician, who m i g h t possibly have to refer him to the medical center, depending on how sick he is down the line. But the children would be getting attention and the needed health care. Train Health Workers Nurse clinicians will be t h e organization ana core ot Mer-riiis neaun iaciliiy arm win uo most ot tne training 01 the neaith worKers. Menriu goi $35,000 this week from tne K e g i u n a i iviecucai program in AiKansas tor the training of trie nurses ana is •'loosing for money for tne heaith expeaitors." The pediatricain is reorganiz-ing the whole outpatient depart-ment in the Arkansas meaical center. In pediatrics there are two kinds of problems, he explained, episodic a sore throat, measles and diagnostic problems "which need to be taken care of — not emergencies — but need to be taken care of." Under diagnostic are more serious problems, he said, such as recurring abdominal pain. In the new outpatient set up, episodic ailments are seen in one area and seen by one staffer, who will be there when the need occurs, while patients-come to the diagnostic clinic on appointment" "It is well organized, sophisti-cated. Patients don't waste time on immunizations. We cut out long lines. We o p e n e d the episodic side a week ago Mon-day and so far our portal to portal times has not exceeded 20 minutes for any patients — we had 150 patients last Monday," he said. And, he explained, any child can be sent to the diagnostic clinic if "we detect or suspect a chronic problem." While "that work-up takes all day .. . everybody does not take all day." "We make the facility meet the need rather than tell people when to get sick," he addd.
|Title||Care of Indigent Child Merrill's Chief Concern|
Moore, John A.
|Identifier||See reference URL on the navigation bar.|
|Source||Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport Medical Library (http://lib.sh.lsuhsc.edu)|
|Coverage-Spatial||Shreveport (Caddo, La.)|
|Rights||Physical rights are retained by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.|