February 7, 2006
A group of nurses and doctors from UVA is ending a helping hand to residents in New Orleans.
A line stretched into the parking lot of the Audobon Zoo in New Orleans. But people weren't here to see the animals, they were waiting for free medical, dental, and vision care.
"I need a prescription refill and I also need to have a doctor's letter from Medicaid," said New Orleans resident, Maria.
Organized by Remote Area Medical, the clinic was staffed by hundreds of volunteers, including over a dozen nurses and doctors
"Seeing 500 patients here so far this morning needing healthcare is very eye-opening," said Dr. Marcus Martin of UVA.
One of the residents in need of help, Maria, who lost her job after Hurricane Katrina swept through.
"She's a paraplegic and is susceptible to urinary tract infections so she needs to be on antibiotics to protect against that. She's ran out of her medications and can't afford prescriptions since she lost her insurance, so we're happy to be able to refill the medicine for her," said UVA internal medicine doctor, Mo Nadkarni.
But it didn't stop there. From eye exams to teeth cleaning, different tents were set up to care for thousands of patients. Each one - with a story.
"My family is scattered. I lost my home. My mother is 80 years old. We were able to get her to Georgia, but she's still doing fine. I have one son in Austin, Texas by himself. He was missing for 7 days," said resident, Cora Turner.
And UVA officials say it makes their medical crew that much more determined to do what they can to help.
"They're very passionate about what they do. They want to help people, even if they're not getting paid for it," said Jan Morrison, with UVA Public Relations.
The Clinic is set to run through Friday.