On-site Health Care

| April 01, 2007

PDMD founder Dr. John McElligott hopes to improve truckers’ quality of life.

The recently opened Professional Drivers Medical Depot in Knoxville, Tenn., is the first in a series of truckstop medical clinics planned to open across the United States.

Each PDMD clinic will be dedicated to an outstanding driver who lives to serve his country. The Knoxville clinic, located off I-40/75 at Exit 369, is dedicated to professional driver Charlie Gibson of Desoto, Texas, who has driven a truck since his first run in 1945 in the service during WWII. Gibson’s photo will be displayed at the clinic in Knoxville.

The truckstop medical clinics are the first health care centers dedicated to serving truck drivers on the road, PDMD says. The organization’s mission is to improve driver health by increasing the accessibility of health care on the road. The organization also includes a nationwide hospital network, which provides quick emergency evaluations, diagnostics and lab screenings.

“There is no medical care for truck drivers on the road unless they go to the emergency room,” founder Dr. John McElligott says. “This will make it more convenient.”

McElligott supervises the Knoxville site and is funding all future sites to be built in the next three years. The clinics will provide services such as DOT physicals, drug and alcohol screening, treatment of work-related injuries and personal illness, prescription refills, flu shots and pneumonia vaccines, among others. Each service is offered at a flat rate so uninsured truck drivers can afford health care. Truck drivers with insurance will receive a bill to provide their insurance company after treatment, McElligott says.

PDMD has completed more than 1,500 medical surveys in order to gather important health information about today’s truck drivers. With the data, the organization plans to tailor its services to the health issues and risks associated with the industry. Last November, the Knoxville clinic provided free flu shots with the surveys and continued the service through the end of February.

Flu shot sponsors included Parkwest Medical Center, Dave Nemo on XM Radio 171 Open Road, Crittenden Regional Hospital, David Haynes and Royanne Thornley with FSG Bank, Purdy Bros. Trucking, Petro Stopping Centers, StrataG, Truckers News, Weight Watchers, the Board of Directors of PDMD and the staff of Occupational Health Systems.

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–Rachel Telehany

Through the Flames
Tanker driver rescues woman trapped in burning vehicle

United Petroleum Transports driver Brian “Brownie” Brown was traveling west on Highway 470 in Topeka, Kan., when he noticed an SUV about 300 yards ahead of him start to veer back and forth on the road.

Then the vehicle took a hard right and rolled off the road and down an embankment, finally crashing into some trees and bursting into flames.

“I wondered if I was going to sleep tonight if I didn’t stop,” recalls the Eskridge, Kan., resident. “My wife was in a bad accident about a year ago, so when I saw that happen, I got goose bumps and I knew I had to help.”

Brown, who was driving a full fuel tanker, secured his rig safely off the road and put the flashers on before grabbing his fire extinguisher and running to help. Another driver who had stopped yelled for Brown to call for emergency help on his cell phone. Brown yelled back, “There’s no time for cell phones. Whoever’s in that car right now, we gotta get him out of there quick.”

Hoping the other driver would follow, Brown maneuvered through broken trees to get to the vehicle. He saw that the female driver was unconscious, so he pounded on the passenger window, not knowing whether she was alive. Meanwhile, flames engulfed the engine. Brown tried to buy some time by using his extinguisher, “but every time I tried to extinguish the flames, they came back harder,” he recalls.

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