Heaton Place resident relations coordinator Carrie O’Neill said the residents are fortunate to have an in-house doctor. (File)

Heaton Place resident relations coordinator Carrie O’Neill said the residents are fortunate to have an in-house doctor. (File)

Armstrong retirement community fortunate to have in-house doctor

Columnist Carrie O’Neill shares Dr. America’s story since joining Heaton Place community

The residents of Heaton Place proudly welcomed Dr. America Uribe to their community in November 2019. They have enjoyed her warm personality and the convenience of having an in-house doctor. Through a series of questions we posed to Dr. America, our residents would like to share with you her appeal and their elation in having her serve their community.

Her thoughts on becoming a doctor, and I paraphrase: I am very happy to be a doctor. Based on my early memories and what my parents tell me, it was not my childhood dream. Medicine found me when I joined my best friends to tour the Faculty of Medicine at the best university in Mexico City. When I was in my third year and we started responsibility in patient care, my very first patient shared his deepest feelings and held my hand during his last few days on earth. I told myself that day, ‘this is what I was made for, to listen and to help.’ During my training, I always felt great admiration for doctors, who are also researchers, working on the cutting edge of science and producing new knowledge. I remember fondly my time working in medical research and hope to return to it someday.”

Dr. America’s work has allowed her to cross paths with many people, and through her medical experience and intervention, has shared their happy, scary or painful times. She hopes she has been able to bring a smile to their faces; to ease a part of their suffering, and to help them get to a healthier place where it is easier to feel happiness. However, and I paraphrase: It has not been always easy. We work in a health care system with limitations and wait times which sometimes make the journey trying. Thankfully all the members of that health-care system share the same drive to help and work to expedite care where necessary; all of which I am so grateful for.

When asked her opinion about the COVID-19 pandemic, I paraphrase her remarks: It has been a steep learning curve for both health care workers and society as a whole. It has demonstrated the importance of vaccines and the resolve of the human spirit in defeating this disease. British Columbians are fortunate to have Dr. Henry’s leadership and guidance. The recommendations implemented by her and her team have significantly decreased both the number of cases and fatalities from this infection. I have great admiration for all people working on the front lines, all over the world. Thank you for what you do!

When asked about working at Heaton Place, I paraphrase: I have always enjoyed working with seniors. I love to hear their stories and share a laugh. My patients at Heaton Place are loving, warm, and welcoming. They are interested in and open to ideas on how to improve their health. The staff and lead team are amazing, keen to help and participate in care when needed and appropriate. During COVID-19, I have been connecting with patients through teleconferencing and videoconferencing facilitated by Heaton Place staff. Hopefully, these limitations will be short-lived and we can soon connect safely one on one again. A big thank you for your help!

Our residents as well look forward to the reopening of our in-house clinic.

We thank Dr. America for being a part of our community; her outstanding patient care; and her inviting personality, all of which add to the wonderful experience of residing at Heaton Place!

Carrie O’Neill is the resident relations coordinator of Heaton Place in Armstrong.

READ MORE: Armstrong retirement community reflects on self-isolating amid coronavirus

READ MORE: Armstrong grads net non-sanctioned parade


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