Renewed Faith - An HSNT Patient Story

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Many people in the United States put off getting healthcare for a variety of reasons. For some, it’s because the cost is too high, or they can’t take time off work to get the proper care. Others have had unhelpful experiences with healthcare providers in the past. For Christopher Cox, it was a combination of reasons.

“I’ve had unpleasant experiences with doctors before that didn’t seem to really care what happened to you, you know, they just move you in and move you out,” Christopher says. “So, I never was one for going to the doctor. I would avoid it until the very last minute.”

With Christopher, the very last minute came very slowly. He knew that he had hepatitis C and knew that he’d had it for nearly 35 years, but it wasn’t bothering him. His symptoms were mild, he thought, and he was able to shrug them off. But earlier this year, he couldn’t ignore it any longer.

“I started taking time off, but then it became a ‘full-time’ time off once my symptoms got worse. I went to a place in Denton called First Refuge Ministries, and they help folks without insurance, and I was referred by them to Health Services of North Texas. That’s how I met Dr. Hudson.”

Dr. Arlene Hudson’s work concentrates in the area infectious disease, and with 25 years of experience she has a deep knowledge and understanding of long-term diseases. The one thing that her patients keep coming back to, however, is her compassion.

“I must’ve been worse than I thought because Dr. Hudson was really worried about me,” Christopher says. “She completely restored my faith in doctors. Dr. Hudson would contact me frequently to check on me, see how I was progressing. She’s genuinely cares about her patients.”

Dr. Hudson got Christopher started on a double course of Epclusa, an anti-viral medication used for treating hepatitis C. After the six-month course was complete, Christopher came back for follow-up blood tests three times – and after 35 years, Christopher was cured of hepatitis C.

“Dr. Hudson went to bat for me, and every one of those people at the health center were my advocate at one point or another,” he says. “Dr. Hudson was able to secure my medication for free from the manufacturer…and when she wanted me to see a specialist or somebody out of [HSNT’s] providership, her staff went to work and found a provider that would take my insurance. I know they worked hard on that.”

Christopher still has some recovering to do – the hepatitis C virus caused cirrhosis in his liver, and a back injury from a car accident many years ago has suddenly gotten much worse – but with someone like Dr. Hudson in his corner working with and supporting him, Christopher is much more hopeful than he was before coming to HSNT.