The history of Meharry Hospital is fascinating. The coincidence of Samuel Meharry’s stuck wagon and the freed slaves who helped him in the 1820’s led to Meharry now being one of the nations’ largest private institutions educating historically black health care specialists. (Seriously, read this history, it’s an amazing success story.)
The majority of the population Meharry serves is the uninsured and minorities. They have a research department that studies the differences in health care according to race. For example more White women get breast cancer than any other ethnic group yet more African American women die from breast cancer. Meharry is working to change that and has partnered with the Vanderbilt –Ingram Cancer Center to better understand and decrease this disparity.
The Breast Health Center is one way Meharry serves the community. The Breast Center has a philosophy that women deserve a place created specifically for women. They make it warm, welcoming and comforting. From the ease with which they work you in for an appointment, the warm greeting you get at the front desk, the friendly technicians, helpful doctors, and wonderful staff that helps you get dressed when you hurt too bad to do it yourself, to the wonderful gowns that only this center seems to have, the Breast Center says in every detail “We are here to help”.
They provide screening, mammograms, ultrasounds, biopsies and surgical consultations.Comprehensive service to diagnosis and treat breast cancer and their surgery and after care is exemplary.
Are they alternative in any way? Well…not exactly. They do however place patients’ wishes as a top priority. They listen to and respect patient requests. They accept that some patients have different philosophies on medicine and they work with those.
So, if you request that no radioactive dye be used in your biopsy no radioactive dye will be used. If you ask that no markers be left in during your surgery no markers will be left in. If you specify that you want only certain types of anesthesia that too will be respected.
Which is not to say that the staff won’t disagree you, they very well might. But they will do so in a very polite and respectful manner. “I do hear you and I respect your wishes but I have to tell you that in my professional opinion, I disagree”. In the end though, the patient is the leader of the team.
The Breast Health Center is not going to be a place where you go to seek alternative treatment. They won’t suggest any alternatives so you will need to be armed and ready with knowledge. There is however a “whole” in holistic care. There is a time and place for somewhat invasive testing and in almost every form of alternative medicine there is a time when surgery is the only logical course of action.
If allopathic forms of treatment become a necessity there is no place where you could receive better care than the Breast Health Center at Meharry Hospital.