Dr. Ballantyne Talks About Volunteering for Coweta Samaritan Clinic

Dr George Ballantyne
Dr. George Ballantyne

“We need to have every doctor involved.”

Tell us about your work for the Coweta Samaritan Clinic.
I screen one or two patients a week for the Clinic when they need care that is outside the realm of what Coweta Samaritan can provide. Two of my Coweta Samaritan patients who have been the most satisfying needed a hip and knee replacement. Without surgery, they were not going to be able to get their joints fixed and get going again. I’ve also done a couple of rotator cuff repairs. The surgery changes their lives. I love to operate, and I love to help people. It’s nice to be able to do something like this and give back to the community.

How important is Coweta Samaritan Clinic in our community? 
The social safety net is just not there for many of the people who come to us from the Clinic. I feel for them. I have one patient who needs a second knee replacement surgery, but his wife is bedridden, and he takes care of her. You can only do so much when their family situation is so tough. That’s the cool thing about Samaritan—they’re trying to address the whole range of patients’ needs. It’s still hard for patients from the Samaritan Clinic, so if you can get them funding from another source, it’s really good. Sometimes orthopaedic physicians are able to get people on Medicaid because of disability in their joints. As I slow down in my practice, it will be fun to help the clinic more.

What would you say to other doctors about helping Coweta Samaritan Clinic? 
Because of the cost of running a medical practice, sometimes it’s almost easier to do medical mission work overseas than it is to help out local clinics like Coweta Samaritan. But medicine is getting so specialized, we almost need to have every doctor involved. It would be great if every physician’s group said, “Coweta Samaritan is a community project that every doctor in our group needs to support. This is expected.” Your view on life changes as you get a little older, and you see that material things aren’t as important as people.