Primary Care Patient Johnnie

"Thorough" is the word Johnnie Butler, 68, uses to describe the care she receives at Virginia Mason. Her primary care physician and other health care specialists, she says, "don't stop until they figure out what is going on."

An example she gives is the time, years ago, when she became so tired and weak that she had to leave work early. Her primary care physician at Virginia Mason was so concerned that he accompanied her for a chest X-ray and other tests. Johnnie remembers that he stayed after hours because, "he wanted to know what was going on immediately." 

As Johnnie drove home, her doctor called and told her to come back to the hospital. She was quickly admitted and given an emergency blood transfusion. Johnnie, who was on blood thinners at the time, had been losing blood in her stool. After a few days in the hospital, Johnnie's condition stabilized. She returned home and had no further problems.

Then, almost 10 years ago, Johnnie began having trouble breathing. Her husband drove her to the closest medical facility, which was in Renton, where she was admitted with double pneumonia. Even though it wasn't a Virginia Mason facility, her primary care doctor consulted with the facility's physicians. "He made sure I was well taken care of," remembers Johnnie.  

Johnnie's long relationship with Virginia Mason began in the mid-1980s when she was still a smoker. With the help of her primary care physician, she was able to break that habit and become healthier. She says she was never lectured about it and, throughout her relationship with Virginia Mason, has always been treated with respect and honesty. "My doctor and the other people at Virginia Mason tell me the truth," says Johnnie. "I appreciate that."

“We are enjoying life to the fullest and know that, as far as our health is concerned, we are in good hands.”

Johnnie's husband, Donald, is also a Virginia Mason patient and sees the same primary care physician as Johnnie. Four years ago, he went in for a stress test that he failed. A few hours later, he had emergency open-heart surgery. The procedure took care of the problem he was having. 

"We are both followed and our health checked regularly," says Johnnie, who is a proud promoter of Virginia Mason to her friends and family, some of whom are now also patients. One friend with epilepsy even flies in from Alaska to go to Virginia Mason. "She knows she's getting the best of care and I know it, too," says Johnnie.

Today, Johnnie and Donald are retired and keeping busy with the activities of the more than a dozen grandchildren in their blended family. "We are enjoying life to the fullest and know that, as far as our health is concerned, we are in good hands."