Dr. John Lang

20150317_Dr. John and Judy Lang 01 low res
Dr. John Lang, co-founder of Compassion Neighborhood Clinic, with his wife and Compassion Neighborhood Clinic nurse, Judy Lang.

Who I am…

I’m John Lang. I’m the founder and president of Compassion Neighborhood Clinic, Inc., which is a free clinic here in Binghampton.

Compassion Clinic is…

We come Tuesday nights from six o’clock. We take care of high blood pressure and diabetes, and a lot of the primary care things that people would walk into an acute clinic for.

What led me here…

10 or 12 years ago Judy and I read an article in the Commercial Appeal about a couple that was doing some work in this Binghampton neighborhood. They were working with kids.

At that point in our life we were really struggling. We were doing a lot of things at church, but we never thought we were doing anything to get our hands dirty, you know? So we went the day after the article was written and just walked in and introduced ourselves to Harry and Rachel.

We would work with the kids in the neighborhood here and hear a lot of the stories about health care problems. We got more and more aware of the need that was here. So Harry helped us start a not-for-profit clinic and he was our first board member.

How faith plays a role in my life…

I don’t think we would do it without faith, because it would just be a chore. And it would just be a job, you know. You would lose kind of the thing, you would lose some of the magic. Because we’ve seen some things happen that we just can’t explain. And I think without faith you would just think it was a coincidence or luck, but deep down you know there’s something more going on. 

I define healthcare as…

I’m going to get on my soapbox. I think healthcare is this system of finance and investing and profits, and medicine is actually the side where the care and compassion takes place. Medicine is the part where there’s people with white coats and stethoscopes and holding hands and treating people.

One of Memphis’ greatest healthcare challenges is…

I think the biggest challenge is that there is a whole population of people here who are not eligible for you know, the ObamaCare. And they’re not eligible for TNCare. And there’s a large population of undocumented folks. And they have really very poor access to healthcare.

And the cost is so expensive. To give that much of your paycheck to something you may or may not use is hard. You can’t pay-as-you-go with healthcare because they’ve built a system that’s just too expensive to pay for yourself.

But what Memphis healthcare is doing right is…

There’s little pockets of folks that are really trying to do cost-effective medicine and try to reach the people who normally can’t get access to it, so I think that’s good.

There’s a lot of generous people here, there’s a lot of good-hearted people. That’s why I have such great volunteers

The biggest challenge in my healthcare work is…

The biggest challenge here, I think, is when somebody really is sick, to get them the care they need. When we get somebody who’s very sick, it’s hard to find a specialist to take care of them.

The greatest reward in my healthcare work is…

They always ask if they can pay me. We say no. I’m not sure if you heard if you’ve heard Benjamin Franklin’s, or it’s attributed to him, the, you know, don’t pay me back, you find someone who’s in worse shape than you. If you pay them what you owe me, I can touch a lot more lives that way by spreading it out. So folks tell me all the time of the thing, the good things they’ve done for other folks, and mainly because something has been done nice for them and a lot of times they just want, they just want to tell their story.

Learn more about Compassion Neighborhood Clinic.


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