Practicing medicine for the greater good
The number of uninsured Americans continues to rise, leaving more than 50 million people to fight for their health, but for ten years now a tiny fraction of them have found help right here in the Capital Region. Our Erin Vannella tells the story of one philanthropist who practices medicine for the greater good.
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "Well, we do it basically because we don't pay any of our staff who provide the service including myself,” said Dr. Bob Paeglow, Albany resident.
Doctor Bob Paeglow heals the people for free.
"Our practice is closed right now to everyone except if you don't have health insurance. So if you don't have health insurance, you can come down and see me,” said Paeglow.
Through the gate and up the elevator, Paeglow, 56, listens to the symptoms and heart beats of Albany's West Hill neighborhood.
"It is a place where crime is high, people are discouraged and often hopeless and people are sick and so forth, but also mental health issues,” said Paeglow.
He calls it home himself, seeing his patients' problems first hand, long ago recognizing it as his mission to help them.
"Most of our people down here struggle with many things that others take for granted like food and adequate housing, jobs and education for the children and so forth and it's one thing to manage their diabetes and blood pressure but it's another thing to help them do better in life,” said Paeglow.
It's a passion born abroad says Paeglow. He's chartered 31 missions overseas in some of the poorest nations like Mozambique, where he was paid, in his mind, generously.
"They actually took up a collection and at the end of that time they gave me 33 cents. When you receive 33 cents from the poorest people on the face of the earth, that's like receiving a million dollars here in America,” said Paeglow.
Any donations are welcome says Paeglow. He'd like to expand the mental health services and social work at his not for profit practice or when the going gets tough, at least keep the office warm.
"It’s not like we're ever going to close our doors here to people as long as I’m still alive and able to provide these services. This is my destiny. This is what I was born for,” said Paeglow.