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It takes special people to work in the ED at the Valley’s only Level 1 trauma center at Community Regional Medical Center – and Dr. Ed Lowder is one of them.
A clinical faculty and emergency medicine physician working over the recent holiday weekend, he didn’t tell anyone the kind deed he did – but one of his co-workers found out.
When two college-aged sisters from Southern California were in a car wreck and came into the ED, they were treated and released about midnight – stranded with nowhere to go. Their friends in Los Angeles had been called and were on their way to pick them up, but the car broke down.
And like most patients who come in from a traffic accident – their clothes were ruined or cut up in order to treat them earlier in the day. So when Dr. Lowder saw them hanging around in hospital gowns he helped to find them some clothes and took them to a nearby hotel, paid for the room and saw them safely to the door.
“Every now and then I’m moved by a situation and I have to intervene,” he said. “They were about the same age as my kids.”
It’s not the only time he’s helped. Dr. Lowder shared a couple of his more eventful experiences.
About a year ago a blind, senior gentleman who didn’t speak English was being discharged. Staff couldn’t reach the family by phone and a taxi driver probably wouldn’t be able to help the man to his door. An ambulance seemed excessive to Dr. Lowder, so he offered the man a ride.
“When I pulled up to his neighborhood it was about 2 a.m. and I couldn’t see the numbers on the outside of the houses,” Dr. Lowder said. “So after going back and forth down the street a couple times and making several U-turns, a cop flashed his lights and pulled me over.”
Dr. Lowder said after explaining the situation to the policeman, the officer got back in his car and flashed his spotlight down the houses to find the right address. Dr. Lowder took the man to his door and saw that he made it safely inside.
That’s not the only awkward moment he’s had doing good deeds for those in need.
“I had a guy come in with chest pain about two years ago and after we got him all taken care of he asked if we could get his wife home,” Dr. Lowder said. “So I volunteered to take her.”
The man had mentioned the neighborhood where he lived but when they got there, the wife had no idea which house it was. A little taken aback, Dr. Lowder called her husband and asked for his address.
The man apologized because he’d forgotten to tell Dr. Lowder his wife had mild dementia and sometimes forgot where she lived.
Needless to say, he now asks a few more questions before he gives someone a ride home when they’re stuck.
But that hasn’t stopped him from helping his patients. When there’s a need he tries to help, even if it means giving out his cell phone number to patients so they can check in with him about their condition, when they’re alone or don’t have an appointment for awhile.
His colleagues say he’s one of those special people – the kind it takes to work in one of the busiest EDs in the state.
Dr. Lowder just says it’s what he does – helps others.
“Rather than ‘pay back,’ I hope anyone I help will ‘pay forward’ – do something similar for someone else when the opportunity arises,” he said.
This story was reported by Mary Lisa Russell. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.