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Dignity Matters

the old silver American dollar of 1878 in hand
ollikainen/Getty Images/iStockphoto

An older patient came in with high blood pressure and diabetes, but we got them under control.

Everything seemed to be going well. Then he just didn't come back for follow-up visits. When he finally returned, I asked, "Why didn't you come in?" He didn't have the money, plain and simple. Even though it's Church Health, we only charge a small amount. But he came up with a solution, I watched as he put his hand in a pocket and pulled out a silver dollar.

"My mother died since the last time I was here," he explained. "Just before she died, she gave me a silver dollar to remember her by for the rest of my life." He held the silver dollar out toward me, asking me to take it. It was not payment, but it was a guarantee that he would pay the bill. He would never think of leaving his mother's silver dollar with us permanently.

Dignity matters in life. We all need to stop to consider whether we are treating each other with dignity in all of our relationships. You don't earn human dignity. It is a gift from God, but respecting each other's dignity is a gift we can give each other. This is Dr. Scott Morris for Church Health.

Dr. G. Scott Morris, M.D., M.Div, is founder and CEO of Church Health, which opened in 1987 to provide quality, affordable health care for working, uninsured or underserved people and their families. In FY2021, Church Health had over 61,300 patient visits. Dr. Morris has an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University, and M.D. from Emory University. He is a board-certified family practice physician and an ordained United Methodist minister.