ALS Fighter Finds Comfort in Healthcare House Calls

Five years ago Clint Modler was at the height of his career. As a successful sales manager for OppenheimerFunds, Clint was leading a healthy and active life that included frequent nationwide business trips. After noticing some arm pain and weakness, he calmly scheduled a visit to his doctor. Unbeknownst to him, the first of a series of appointments resulting in a diagnosis that would forever change his life.

Clint Modler

Doctors diagnosed Clint with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Fighting increasing debilitation, Clint continued traveling and working for years. While he stopped traveling in March 2018, he continued working with OppenheimerFunds until May 24 of this year.

In the earlier years following his diagnosis, Clint found ways to carry on with independent activities like skiing and driving. While neither is an option now, he remains positive by focusing on what he can do rather than what he can’t.

Clint with his family
Clint Modler (middle) with his children, Kate and Jack.

Now at the five-year mark, Clint is confined to a wheelchair with a ventilator to support his breathing and a g-tube to deliver his food. In many ways, his condition resembles that of Stephen Hawking. Speech has become increasingly difficult, leaving most of his verbal communication to be translated by his in-home nurse, Sally Daigle, and parents Carolynne and Jack Modler, who traveled from Canada to support him.

He is defiant about his disease, and determined to beat the odds — attributes that have extended him beyond the disease’s shockingly low survival rates of just 3-5 years. Despite his physical limitations, Clint’s mind is sharp. He is now looking for ways to contribute via writing, which he can do through the use of a special interface system allowing him to type words into a keyboard.

Due to the advanced state of his condition, he has unfortunately been denied promising remedies such as Stem Cell Therapy. Existing opinions suggest that the use of cutting edge therapies among patients during earlier stages of ALS may increase the chance of improvement.

Despite these obstacles, Clint is determined to persevere and do everything in his power to slow or ward off rapidly progressing symptoms.

A strong support system is an integral part of the ongoing battle. In addition to his parents and nurse, friends have rallied behind Clint to cheer him on during the fight of his life. For Clint’s 50th birthday, his fraternity brothers flew in from across the country to lift his spirits and throw him the ultimate party filled with memories made to last a lifetime.

DispatchHealth has also joined his support team. The relationship started on April 17, when Clint was experiencing severe urinary retention prompting a call to 911. When the fire department arrived, they recommended Sally contact DispatchHealth, a company that delivers high-quality, complex care to the home — a service that has proven to be a safe and cost-effective alternative to emergency room and urgent care visits.

A Physician Assistant and EMT quickly arrived on behalf of DispatchHealth, diagnosed Clint’s symptoms, inserted a catheter that immediately relieved the pain, drew blood and performed other comprehensive lab testing, and even arranged for a doppler X-ray of his leg to assess a potential blood clot. Once the lab work and tests were completed, DispatchHealth followed up with Clint to go over his results, ensure his primary care team was updated and to check on how he was feeling.

Through Sally, Clint shared his experience with DispatchHealth as it compared to previous emergency room visits: “It was phenomenal, amazing. If we had gone to the ER, it would have taken hours and been very belabored. Then, they would have kept him overnight to monitor and likely it would have been days until he could come home.”

Sally concludes, “DispatchHealth has kept Clint from going to the hospital, getting hundreds of thousands of dollars of testing, and experiencing the frustration of not being heard about wanting to go home.”

As Sally and DispatchHealth continue to work hand-in-hand, Clint receives high-quality and complex care in the comfort of his own home.

Summarizing her thoughts about the current care team system, Sally adds, “If anything happens, we can call DispatchHealth. Somebody with stability and brains can get there and keep him from going to the ER. They will be able to handle most anything. When we told his primary care team that we had gotten all these services from DispatchHealth, they were in shock. We know we can call, and get a definitive diagnosis and treatment for just about anything.”

By bringing care into the home, DispatchHealth helps reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations, improve clinical outcomes and decrease burdensome costs for the overall healthcare system. And patients with complicated health conditions such as Clint Modler finally have a way to continue living in their homes while receiving treatment that had previously only been available in an ER setting. It’s healthcare, reimagined.

Interested in finding out more about how DispatchHealth’s services could benefit you or a loved one? Learn more about our services here.

about the author
About the Author
DispatchHealth Staff The DispatchHealth blog provides tips, tricks and advice for improving lives through convenient, comfortable healthcare.