GATES COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) — Past the cotton fields and down a long gravel road, 10 On Your Side caught up with Mary Berry as she delivered health care in a Hyundai.
The nurse practitioner, with almost 20 years of experience, noticed a need in her hometown. Like many rural areas, Gates County has no practicing doctors. Residents have to drive 30 to 45 minutes to Suffolk, Franklin or Ahoskie to see one.
Berry’s solution is to bring back the house call. 10 On Your Side tagged along as she visited Bud and Peggy Barden, two of her first patients.
“The service she supplies us at this time in our life is like a blessing. I call her the angel in transit,” Bud told 10 On Your Side.
Berry is licensed and can help manage chronic conditions such as heart disease, and diabetes and treat common colds, flu, sinus infections or injuries.
“Honestly, I think mobile services are where it’s at because if you can go to the person, why bring a sick person to a waiting room to infect everybody when you can just leave them at home in the comfort of their home?”
Berry has an affinity for the older population which is growing in numbers. Many elderly find it difficult to get to the doctor’s office. Case in point, Bud and Peggy.
“With Peggy’s situation to get her, there is such a chore right now, a struggle,” said Berry.
With mobile technology, Berry can prescribe medicine, do lab work right in their living room, and even order a mobile x-ray to come to the door.
A 2021 government report shows providers benefit from observing patients in their own environment and getting to know them better.
“Some people say I’m too personable and I do put my heart into and bless my husband’s soul, you know he catches it all,” Berry told us.
House calls can eliminate barriers to health care for the developmentally disabled as well, and prevent long wait times for primary care appointments, and in emergency departments.
“Oh it’s a blessing here, I mean what can you say? I mean, I’m still bewildered,” Bud Barden said.
It’s a blessing for Berry too. She no longer commutes three hours a day to and from a job in the city and while she is still putting miles on her car, the quiet country roads deliver job satisfaction and wide-open possibilities for providers and patients.
“Maybe people will say hey she did it in Gates county I can do it here,” Berry said.
Marry Berry can be reached at Berry Personalized Primary Care or (252) 260-1569.