Transforming Addiction to Aid

Transforming Addiction to Aid - Gratitude Story

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Dan Hakim sees many patients come through the Integrated Wound Healing Center at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center with pre-existing addictions to prescription or street drugs. Carrie Clark came in like the rest of them, seeking wound care as she struggled with a drug addiction. The infections from her needle use were so severe that she almost had to get both her legs amputated. 

Dan Hakim, Carrie Clark, and Sierra Davis

Thankfully, it didn’t come to that, and after two years of steady treatment, she experienced a turning point in her physical health as well as in her drug addiction. With recovery came clarity, a sense of responsibility, and immense appreciation for her care team. She felt a need to express her gratitude and told them, “I really want to be able to help people but I don’t know how.”

Dan heard that. Beyond his roles as her therapist and the director of the wound center, Dan wanted to do more for this grateful patient who didn’t know where to start paying her gratitude back.

Connecting her with the peer recovery program at the wound center was a step forward they took together. Dan saw in her an empathetic guide, someone who might help addicted patients focus on their path to recovery. Clark started her new position as a community health advocate in May 2019. Her primary area of focus is the emergency department at MedStar Franklin Square, where many of the wound care patients start their treatment process.

“I owe so much of my recovery to the love and support I received from my caregivers. They never looked down on me or judged me. They always looked at me like a real person,” Clark says. “They’ve given me another chance to not let my story go to waste. I’m going to make sure I do that for others, too.”

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