Blacks and Health: Thousands Wait in Line to Receive Free Care at Makeshift Clinic

Don’t be fooled by the headline. This is not a story about refugees in a developing nation.

Like millions of Americans throughout our country, residents of Los Angeles, a metropolitan mecca known as the third largest economic center  in the world, are finding that access to medical care has become a luxury many of them can no longer afford.

3,000 Angelenos waited in line at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena — some overnight — for a chance to get free medical care in a massive temporary clinic staffed by volunteer pediatricians, cardiologists, dentists and other medical specialists.

The would-be patients sat in folding chairs, some huddling together under blankets, hoping to be one of 5,000 individuals to receive a wristband for admission to the clinic.

Those who waited included a 27-year-old nursing student who told the LA Times she  had been having seizures for the past year and had gone to the emergency room several times, but had never been seen by a neurologist. One family of four was hoping to be seen by a dentist. “We don’t have the money to pay for this,” said the father, 36, who lost his job 18 months ago.

The clinic was organized by CareNow and will be providing services from Oct. 20 through 23 to those who have a writstband. CareNow president Don Manelli said people should not have to stand in line for basic health care, but he was pleased so many volunteers had come forward.

CareNow LA is accepting donations and is still seeking medical professionals to donate their time to this clinic. According to their site, primary care physicians are needed for every day of the clinic while more dentists and dental hygienists are needed for Thursday.



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