Phuong Thai immigrated into the United States in 2004, more than a decade after her parents came to the country as refugees from Vietnam. Like many new immmigrants, Phuong found herself in a difficult situation: she was in desperate need of medical attention yet had no health insurance to help cover the cost.
Phuong had developed conjunctivitis (an eye infection)and the condition had worsened to the point where she felt “her cornea was about to detach.” Her friends recommended home remedies and told her to forget about seeing a doctor in America without insurance – they said she wouldn’t be able to afford it.
However, Phuong’s mom heard about a place called Christ Clinic. Thinking of her visit to Christ Clinic still brings a warm smile to Phuong’s face, she remembers being treated with love, respect and dignity by the staff and medical provider.
Phoung’s condition improved after her visit and she went on to start her studies at Spokane Community College where she graduated in 2007 with a degree in Health Information Technology Management.
Phuong is also a Certified Medical Services Interpreter for Vietnamese and French languages, and through this role she has found her way back to Christ Clinic almost a decade later. As an interpreter, Phuong visits many of the local hospitals in Spokane, so we asked her if she thinks there is anything different about Christ Clinic. “The love you show for your patients impacts their heart, Phoung says. I came in empty handed and received help. When I thanked the doctor for helping me, she responded: ‘No… thank you for the opportunity to serve you.’ I will never forget that.”
Today, Phuong volunteers her interpretation services for patients at Christ Clinic without insurance coverage. She says that she feels indebted to the ministry and that it is her duty to “pay it forward” by serving others with the same love and respect she was once offered. Phuong’s story is yet one more example of the lasting impact of Christ Clinic’s ministry!