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Help Needed For Free Medical Care

Demand is increasing for Occupy Medical’s free downtown health care, and the group needs more volunteers and donations. Occupy Medical’s mobile unit — that distinct red and white bus you see parked downtown at the Park Blocks on Sundays from noon until 4 pm — served 49 patients on April 21, according to Clinic Manager Sue Sierralupe. Occupy Medical serves patients for free, regardless of income or insurance. 

Sierralupe says that in only a few hours serving those almost 50 patients, “we had three doctors on staff working continuously along side our triage team, our wound care unit, our foot care team, our alternative care team, a pharmacist and his assistant.” She adds, “Our intake leader was working with a trained assistant and still had a hard time keeping up.”

She says she’s worried 4J’s proposal to close its school health care clinics will drive up the numbers of patients, and the recent EW cover feature got the word out to more people who need health care. In a recent post on her blog, herbalistmanifesto.com, Sierralupe writes, “We are the safety net clinic that other safety net clinics send their patients to.”

She says, “Occupy Medical will do everything within our power to serve as many patients as we can to the best of our ability.” But she says, “We need more help. We need more doctors. We need a dentist. We need money for lab fees.” She says the group also wants to make stronger alliances with other care organizations because “health care in our community can only be fixed by reconnecting and regaining our focus on what is most important: people.” She says the group does not want to limit care or limit numbers of patients.

Among the recent cases treated were a patient whose cancer lesions had been ignored by a doctor for six months, someone with unmonitored hepatitis and a patient who was close to losing a hand.

Occupy Medical will be partnering with Lane County’s Department of Health and Human Services to provide Tdap vaccines, which prevent tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough, to uninsured adults, 19 and up, free of charge, from 12:30 to 3:30 pm Sunday, May 5.

For more on Occupy Medical, see our April 11 cover story, and to donate money, skills or items see http://occupymedics.wordpress.com.