I was sitting at my desk at the Clinic, minding my own business, when the Front Desk came on the intercom.
"Channel 22ABC/45 Fox News is on the line," they said. "Can you take the call?"
My boss was in Washington, DC, lobbying Congress on health care reform, which means I was covering for her. She is a registered nurse, with 30-years experience and a PhD in health administration. I am a former computer programmer who wouldn't know cellulite from cellulitis.
"Sure," I said.
Malcolm Maddox, a local reporter, wanted to come out and film the clinic and talk about health care reform. I explained that Sharon was out of town, and it would be better to wait and talk to her. Plus, though I didn't mention this, I LOATHE public speaking.
"My deadline is 10 p.m. tonight," he said.
He wanted to pitch the story around a 22-year-old Miami University graduate who died of pneumonia a couple of weeks ago. She didn't go to the doctor because she didn't have health insurance and was afraid of incurring the bill.
"We want people who are uninsured to know they have options," he said.
The Clinic needs money. More than that, we need volunteer doctors. What we don't need: more patients. It's not unusual for 50 people to show up for one of our adult walk-in clinics. Depending on the number of doctors who've volunteered that night, we sometimes turn half of the people away.
(In case you're wondering how that works, we triage all of them. Then we select the number we can see from among the sickest, and ask the others to reschedule, or, in some cases, to seek care in a more appropriate venue, like the ER or the Public Health department.)
But when your revenue comes from grants and donations, it's not not a good idea to refuse publicity. And it's an even worse idea to piss off the media.
After explaining all this to him, I agreed to let him come.