To truly understand the impact that Volunteers in Medicine Hilton Head Island has on the community, all you have to do is talk with William Drolshagen.
“I will tell you something,” William said. “If it wasn’t for these people, I would probably be dead. One of the things that has happened to me in the past 20 years would have killed me.”
William’s patient relationship with VIM began two decades ago following an accident in his kitchen left him badly burned. He dropped a dish he was cooking which hit the floor and splattered all over his leg. He wasn’t wearing anything on his lower legs and feet and suffered severe burns. Uninsured, he went to the emergency room, which referred him to VIM.
The doctors and staff from VIM went above and beyond immediately to make sure he received the care that he needed. “It was incredible,” he said. “Every week for a month or six weeks, somebody would come to my house to get me. I couldn’t drive. They would take me in to change my dressings. They made sure it was changed and that I always had fresh bandages. I honestly couldn’t believe their commitment to me—one patient.”
Over the years, William has faced many health struggles, and without fail, VIM has been there in his time of need. He was diagnosed with a hernia and VIM helped arrange for surgery for him at MUSC free of charge. On two separate occasions, he has also dealt with cancer scares.
When he was diagnosed with cancerous polyps in his digestive tract, VIM helped arrange surgery to have them removed. The surgery occurred within six months of diagnosis, which is frankly unheard of, even in private practice when the patient is already insured.
Last year, William contracted pneumonia which damaged his lungs. During treatment, more cancer was uncovered and VIM has facilitated treatment for that as well. In addition, he has always gotten assistance with prescriptions he needed—whether it was supplied by the clinic or not.
William also related stories of volunteers giving out of their own pockets to help pay for medications. “You really can’t believe what these people do. They’re there on their day off or their retired and giving so much of themselves, personally.”
William said that people need to donate to VIM. “Almost all the workers are volunteers and they get no money from the government at all,” he said. “I love that. The people give their time and the community helps fund the clinic. They have dances and auctions and fundraisers. They really deserve our support.”