Medical Assistant grateful for care she received

Melanie Lima was one of the thousand medical professionals who worked through the worst of the COVID pandemic.

Melanie knew first-hand how challenging it was to care for patients when both staffing and supplies were stretched to — and beyond — their limits.

Melanie, who lives in New Bedford, works as a Medical Assistant (MA) in the endocrinology department at Southcoast Health’s offices on Hanover Street in Fall River. Working at Southcoast for over eight years, she has the unique experience of learning about her specialty both as someone caring for patients and as a patient herself.

Melanie has suffered from painful ear infections most of her life and had both eardrums replaced when she was a child. When she tested positive for COVID just after Christmas last year, she quickly developed a secondary infection that caused intense pain in both her ears and her sinuses.

She called Southcoast Urgent Care in Seekonk and got a prescription to help treat the infection. That night the pain returned, her ears were blocked and sinuses throbbed, she immediately called and spoke with a receptionist at Urgent Care.

It was late in the day, and all the reservations were booked, but the receptionist was concerned for her and spoke to Physician’s Assistant (PA) Ryan Laferte. Ryan called Melanie and asked her to come in as soon as possible. He made sure she would be seen and treated that evening.

“I had been in so much pain at that point I started to actually tear up on the phone,” Melanie says. She thanked the receptionist who had helped her and the PA for “caring so much about somebody they didn’t even know.”

When she got to Urgent Care, the care team confirmed she had a double ear infection and a developing sinus infection.

“I have been a Medical Assistant for almost 20 years now and I know how busy it can get in the office, but it was so nice as a patient to be heard and taken care of when I felt so awful and sick. I am very thankful.”

As a career MA — she is working on a bachelor’s degree in health care management and administration that she hopes will propel her career advancement — she said she always tries to put herself “in the place of the patient” and that she regularly sees that kind of commitment from Southcoast medical staff.

“I always try to be an advocate for patients. I ask myself ‘How would I like to be treated?’”

Melanie said that it’s this kind of devotion to patient well-being that she received at Southcoast Urgent Care in Seekonk that keeps her at Southcoast Health, as a patient and provider.

“I’m really glad I went there,” she says. “And I’m really glad I am here.”

For more staff profiles, visit Staff Profiles Archives | Southcoast Health. You can also hear about how our staff continues to service excellence and patient experience, please visit Service Excellence & Patient Experience at Southcoast Health | Southcoast Health.