Our Commitment to the People of Tangier Island
At 4 months old, Dr. Nichols detected an abnormal sound in my heart and he knew exactly what to do. He arranged for my life saving surgery to repair the hole in my heart. Afterwards, Dr. Nichols flew to Tangier Island to take care of me; week after week, he was there for me.
Now, I’m 14 and the sound of Dr. Nichols helicopter has long faded. But today I feel safe and secure when I hear the familiar sound of planes bringing Riverside physicians to Tangier - physicians that might possibly save the life of someone else like me.
I will always remember Dr. Nichols and be grateful to Riverside for carrying on his legacy.
When you think of healthcare coverage or access to great care, you may not immediately realize the critical role that the price of diesel fuel or aviation gasoline can play in the equation. If you lived on Tangier Island in the Chesapeake Bay as Stephanie Paige does, it might be easier to understand.
In the age of Super Wal-Mart’s, corner drug stores, and 24-hour hospitals it’s hard to imagine there are people who proudly live outside the realm of modern conveniences. For centuries, the isolated residents of Tangier Island survived without access to a hometown doctor or other comforts we often take for granted. Then in 1983, a physician met the people of Tangier and took painstaking measures to assure they would not continue to go without local access to life enhancing and life saving healthcare. That man was the late Dr. David Nichols.
For over 30 years, David flew himself and other providers to Tangier each week. Unfortunately, Dr. Nichols passed away in 2010 but his spirit and dedication inspired Riverside to continue his important work. While Riverside providers committed their skill and time to this effort, it soon became clear there is one significant expense never reimbursed by insurance or other coverage: the cost of fuel to commute to Tangier by either airplane or boat can approach an almost staggering $100,000 a year.
The Tangier Island Health Foundation, realizing this expense is above and beyond Riverside’s commitment to healthcare on the island, is joining forces with the Riverside Foundation to raise the funds for transportation of providers to and from Tangier.
Help support our commitment to care for the people of Tangier. Give now.