Medical man helps Palmetto family

Friday, May 6, 2011

A nurse practitioner paid a $200 fee so a Palmetto family could continue to have two mobile homes on land at Marshall County's border near Wheel as one of the sons suffers skin cancer, believed to have been caused by radiation.

Naomi Mitchell, mother of George Mitchell, a skin cancer patient of doctors at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, confirmed on Thursday morning that she'd received a receipt from the Bedford County Planning and Zoning Office in Shelbyville.

Mitchell is grateful and thanks Chandler Anderson for his kindness.

Anderson, now of Spring Hill but originally from Lewisburg, is a nurse practitioner at a clinic in Columbia where he became aware of the Mitchell family's need. Bedford County fees, for more than one dwelling on lots of a certain size or smaller, increased from $10 annually to $100. It was something the family was trying to pay. A deadline had been extended, but the bill was due.

"We're in the business of helping people," Anderson said late one night recently at the Right Care clinic on Brookmeade Drive. "If we can, reasonably, we will."

Anderson married Molly Petty who works at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. He used to work at A.J. Medical in Lewisburg and then at the Maury Regional Medical Center emergency room in Columbia.

"My wife is determined to move back to Lewisburg," Anderson said. "We want to send our kids to schools in Lewisburg. I think they're great."

Anderson's father, Thomas, worked for Hershel Davis when the senior councilman ran the school system's maintenance department. The nurse practitioner's mother, Mary Ann, worked for Walker Die Casting.

His formative years in Marshall County appear to have instilled in him hometown, personal and family values to return the favor, in general, to society. Dr. Melvin Lewis, who has offices on Mooresville Highway, helped Anderson with his education, and Lewis has been the Mitchell's family physician since George had a motorcycle accident years ago.

George Mitchell and his brothers Eric and Doyce were raised by Naomi and Buddy Mitchell in Mulberry, Fla. As teenagers, George and Doyce worked at a uranium recovery center and, while they can't prove it, they believe their skin cancer is caused, or promoted by radiation from the uranium.

Doyce's lower lip has been removed and rebuilt. He suffers elsewhere. George's right eye was removed. He's had skin replaced above the eye socket and his maladies are preying on him as he questions the value of more surgery.

"I feel terrible for them," Anderson said. "We deal with that here."

The Right Care clinic in a strip mall near a barbershop and video game store doesn't provide cancer surgery, but as the nurse practitioner there, Anderson uses all of his training from Columbia State Community College, Middle Tennessee State University and Tennessee State University.

"We're not wealthy," Anderson said of his young family, "but we feel that we've been blessed and $200 is going to make a difference, so we did it...

"These days," the nurse practitioner said reflecting on the Mitchell brothers' early years in a small town surrounded by mining and industrial operations, "everybody knows about radiation."

What the Mitchell boys were apparently exposed to is much the same thing as direct sunlight, Anderson and Lewis said. The sun is an on-going nuclear reaction and too much sunshine can lead to skin cancer.

As a result, George Mitchell and his family are aware to either use sunscreen or cover-up as recommended by Lewis and Anderson. George Mitchell always wears long-sleeved t-shirts.