October 14, 2013
In this week's Stephanie's Heroes, several nurses, doctors and other medical staff are coming together in Orange County to provide medical care for the uninsured and they're doing so without getting paid.
The Orange County Free Clinic opened its doors on Thursday for the autumn open house. It was a chance for the public to come and learn more about the services offered here.
Many of these medical services are made possible because of volunteers.
"We do a lot of phlebotomy work and will draw blood and I will help with that part of it," said Donna White, Volunteer Nurse, Orange County Free Clinic.
Donna White is a retired nurse, but still finds plenty of time during the week to help out at the free clinic with flu shots, blood pressure checks and blood work.
"I love what I do. I always have. I love the patients and I love working with those who really need our help and I love the people here," said White.
White is just one of many volunteers who keep the clinic going. In addition to nurses and doctors, the clinic has a lot of help in the front office.
Without them, staff say it would be different.
"Things would move incredibly slowly. We only have 4 or 5 paid staff," said Jude Christian, Nurse Practitioner, Orange County Free Clinic.
Since 2007 the clinic patient list has jumped from 86 to more than 2,000. So, having volunteers is more important now than ever.
"It's absolutely been a challenge because we have limited paid staff, but we're so thankful we always have had volunteers who stuck in there who've helped us and hung in there with the growth," said April Taylor, Resource Development, Orange County Free Clinic.
Without this donated help, many people who are uninsured wouldn't get the care that they so desperately need. A large number of the patients here have diabetes and high blood pressure and need access to medication and healthcare.
"For someone who don't have any other means to get what they need to live, it's not a game. It's has to happen," said Taylor.
It couldn't happen without the heroes who spend their free time at the free clinic seeing patients, giving them medicine and giving them the same access to healthcare that others have.