A ministry of healing: Fighting for Roy
At age 67, Roy Martin has worked tirelessly to support his family for more than 50 years. And to his very core, this lifelong Middle Tennessee resident is a man who believes in giving, not receiving. However, after a life-threatening heart condition struck in the early 1990s, Roy was eventually faced with the need to accept help, which he found in abundance through Saint Thomas Health.
Like so many Americans, Roy, who was a small business owner at the time, lacked health insurance. After the first of several heart attacks, he was admitted to Saint Thomas Hospital. Overwhelmed by the thought of his mounting bills, Roy was given information about the Daughters of Charity program, now called Charity Care.
“Saint Thomas is my lifesaver, and the Daughters of Charity, God bless them, they are the best things that ever happened to me, medical-wise. If I went to some other hospital, I would have been turned away; I would have been dead,” Roy said.
Nancy Anness, vice president of advocacy, access and community outreach for Saint Thomas Health, has assisted Roy with his health care needs at Saint Thomas Hospital for approximately eight years.
“Mr. Martin has a heart of gold and he is a Godly man. He takes care of all of his family [including his ailing mother], and he always puts himself last,” she said.
She added that to help him and so many others in similar situations is simply “part of our core values, to be reverent and provide respect, compassion and dignity.”
Nancy, who has been with Saint Thomas Health for 18 years added, “And this is one of our calls to action, health care that leaves on one behind, which includes people who are uninsured, underinsured and insured – this means everyone. We believe that health care is a right, and we want to provide that care to everyone.”
Roy said that lacking insurance “makes you feel degraded; it just makes you feel terrible to know you need insurance but you can’t afford it.” He continued, “I was ashamed, but Saint Thomas, they treat you with respect and dignity whether you have a dime in your pocket or not. At Saint Thomas, I didn’t have to feel like a second-hand citizen.”
The fisherman and Nascar fan, who continues to fight heart disease, is now eligible for Medicare. But, as a man who is as solid as his word, Roy said, “Now I can go to any hospital in this country, but I will always go to Saint Thomas.”