DOTHAN, Ala. - A new partnership with Southeast Alabama Medical Center and the University of Alabama Birmingham is helping cancer patients in the Wiregrass in more ways than one. Dothan native, Melinda McClendon has a long history with the Medical Center, she says “this hospital means a lot to me. Every major medical event in my life has happened here, I've delivered my children here, my only other surgery was here and I was born here.”
Looking back at her first surgery at 5 years old, McClendon remembers how important patient care was to her then. She tells the story “when I came in for surgery that day my finger nails and toe nails were painted red and you cannot have surgery with painted fingernails and toenails so the nurses took my polish off and when I awoke from surgery they were sitting in my room with a bottle of nail polish next to my bed and they painted my fingernails and my toenails again.”
In September of 2009, McClendon was diagnosed with stage 3 advanced breast cancer and doctors say that same standard of patient care she has received throughout her life is more important now than ever before. According to Dr. Alan McCool of Southeast Alabama Medical Center, “patients do better when they are comfortable, when they have their support system and that's always going to be close to their home.”
Clinical trials and initiatives will now be administered at Southeast Alabama Medical Center allowing patients to stay at home rather than traveling to Birmingham for their treatments. Dr. Edward Partridge, Director of the University of Alabama Comprehensive Cancer Center, “it just makes sense that if your family and your friends and your church support is there with you, the journey is going to be easier.”
McClendon says “it's kind of like traveling, it's not really where you're going it's who you are going with that makes all the difference.”
SAMC is currently the largest hospital in the state affiliated with UAB cancer care network. The clinical affiliation of these two highly respected cancer treatment facilities will provide patients with enhanced levels of service.