When people couldn’t pay, she didn’t charge them. When the clinic wasn’t making money, she didn’t take a salary for herself. When Hurricane George destroyed the clinic in 1998, she made house calls to all her patients while it was rebuilt. When Hurricane Katrina destroyed it again and left most of her town homeless, she mortgaged her house and maxed out her credit cards to rebuild that clinic for a second time. She tended to those who had been wounded in the storm, and when folks needed medicine, she asked the pharmacist to send the bill her way.
…But for all that she’s seen and all the tremendous obstacles that she has overcome, Regina Benjamin also represents what’s best about health care in America — doctors and nurses who give and care and sacrifice for the sake of their patients; those Americans who would do anything to heal a fellow citizen. Through floods and fires and severe want, Regina Benjamin has refused to give up. Her patients have refused to give up. And when we were talking in the Oval Office, she said: The one thing I want to do is make sure that this Surgeon General’s Office gives voice to patients, that patients have a seat at the table; somebody is advocating for them and speaking for them.
~President Barack Obama,
0n nominee for Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin