Steve Crow

As Interviewed by Max Genet, March 10, 2012

Steve Crow: In His Own Words

Stephen C. Crow, June 1959. I work at Peoples Community Clinic. I like being in the work that I am. I treat things like high blood pressure and diabetes. If those issues are better addressed, and people take medications and see doctors regularly, theyíll save years on their life.

I think access to healthcare is a very basic social justice issue. This is a very basic issue to the health of the community. If you have a lot of people that donít have access to medical care, then they arenít going to do well, and the community is not going to do well.

I feel really good doing what I do. I donít think it is for myself or the healthcare system to determine who deserves access to medical care. I agree with basically all the other people in the developed countries of the rest of the world that universal access it healthcare is a right.

There really isnít any person who shouldnít have access to medical care. I think everyone deserves access to medical care. I like being able to work with people that donít otherwise have access to medical care or may have limited access to medical care. I like knowing that what I do is necessary.

I think there has always been some type of community healthcare in Texas and in other places. There have always been volunteer efforts and things like that to help take care of people who didnít have access to care.

Probably the majority of people in healthcare are attracted to helping others just the way teachers and other professionals that are giving something back to the community. There are some things that are not really designed for profit, that make sure everyone in the community is well.

There are things that are best assumed by the community, to make sure that everyone in the community is doing well. Itís really about the health of the community.

Sometime, when I was in college, I realized that I wanted to be in a profession helping other people. I feel really lucky and I really like what I do. I donít have any real plans to change what I do. I get to work with really good people. The people I meet are interesting. Thereís always a new challenge and I think thatís what a lot of people like in their work is they want something that doesnít feel like itís the same thing every day.

If people are sick, they need care. They ought to be able to access care regardless of their ability to pay or anything else about them.

It used to be that if you were in prison, it was pretty much deemed that if you got sick, that it was just too bad. But the courts have ruled that even prisoners have the right to medical care. And in fact, if somebody is in prison, the state does have to pay for their medical care.

Some people seem to think that if someone is unfortunate and gets sick and goes to the hospital, and they donít have money, that maybe they should be allowed to die. I just donít agree with that.

If anyone whoís ever been sick can tell you, that when you are sick itís a large issue. It wasnít that long ago that if somebody got pneumonia or they got a little boil somewhere on their body, and the infections started to set in, they were probably going to die.

That was only sixty, seventy years ago. So, you know when you or a loved one is in this state where youíre going to die or might very well die, thatís going to be the biggest issue of your life.
Those infections are still out there; people go to hospitals or go to clinics, they get treated for those things, and the medications that are given save lives.

The attitude towards community has changed a lot in the last hundred to hundred and fifty years ago. It used to be in the late eighteen hundreds and early nineteen hundreds if you were poor you were left to live in complete squalor, without access to even the most basic services. I think everyone deserves access to care.

Over time there has been a gradual increase in what people feel like the community should provide. It doesnít benefit anyone to have people who are sick not receiving medical care. Itís like what I say, everyone with equal opportunity.

Equal opportunity is the idea that if you provide basic services like education, or public safety, which would be the fire and the police. And adequate infrastructure which would be like the roads, that everybody ought to have their chance. And I think healthcare is just like that. And itís just another part for the equal opportunity for people.

The people that tend to work with the medically underserved tend to be really nice people. I enjoy working with people who value that. Iíve always felt very fortunate about who I get to work with in the community health field because theyíre usually great people. They are usually some of the most kind, intelligent, thoughtful people you could ever care to meet.