EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Boston and Beyond

December 15, 2012

Northampton physician offers house calls by bike

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“If you come into the ER with congestive heart failure and your lungs are full of fluid, I’m going to get the fluid out and then send you home to be sick. I’m putting a Band-Aid on disease,” she said.

What she would rather be doing is visiting that patient at home, teaching him or her about lifestyle changes that could prevent another episode. “I’ll ride my bike to your house and we’ll talk about it. I’m not going to change your medications, I’m going to answer your questions,” she said.

On her second day in business, Griffin pedaled to 582 Spring St., the home of Karen Mandeville, 59, and Samuel Adams, 69.

Most of her clients are older and suffer from chronic conditions such as heart disease, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure or, like Adams and Mandeville, diabetes.

Usually she finds clients by word of mouth, but Griffin and Mandeville found each other on Aug. 12 when Mandeville put a request on Freecycle.org looking for a book about how diabetics can get healthy. Griffin emailed her, offering to help.

“She came over the same day,” Mandeville said.

Three-and-a-half months later, Adams has shed 33 pounds and has reduced his insulin intake from eight shots a day to two. He can walk without the help of the two canes he used to use because his weight and his high blood sugar made him tired. “He used to have two chairs from here to the mailbox so he could rest,” Mandeville said, gesturing to the approximately 75-foot stretch, which is now chair-free.

“It was really important to me to get him healthy because we just got married and I want him around for a while,” Mandeville said. The couple married Nov. 11, 2011, after 17 years together.

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