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Multiple Health Conditions Discovered During Free Clinic for Uninsured People in New Orleans
Date:11/14/2009

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Organizers of a free health clinic for uninsured residents of Louisiana are pleased with its success today. Not only did the clinic see 1,000 patients, it may have saved the lives of some sick individuals. Many of the patients had not seen a physician since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Volunteer physicians and other medical providers tended to the health care needs of over 1,000 patients who attended the C.A.R.E. (Communities Are Responding Everyday) Clinic at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. The clinic was organized by the National Association of Free Clinics and Louisiana Free Clinic Association (NAFC).

"We saw a number of very sick patients today who have not had medical care for many years," Doctor Corey Hebert, a New Orleans physician and one of the clinic's medical directors said. "This clinic was a life saver for many people who have no way to pay for their healthcare needs."

Corey went on to say, "It is important that this is the same facility where people were dying four years ago and today we are giving them life." His remarks were in reference to the aftermath of Katrina and the human crisis that occurred at convention center.

"It was wonderful to provide free care to so many people in one day," Nicole Lamoureux, executive director of the NAFC, said. "But it also was important that we were able to connect a large number of these patients with free clinics and other health care providers who can provide them with care on a day-to-day basis."

The NAFC and the Louisiana Free Clinic Association sponsored the event. The 727 volunteers who participated included physicians, nurses, other medical providers and non-medical individuals.

"I am very moved by all the physicians and other medical providers who volunteered to make this C.A.R.E. Clinic such a success," Dr. Rani Whitfield, M.D., said. Whitfield, a Baton Rouge physician, served as co-medical director for the clinic. "The dedication to helping those need help was moving."

The clinic operated from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. today at no cost to patients or taxpayers. Most of the patients registered before the event, but walk-ins were seen on a first-come-first-served basis.

"We did good work today," Whitfield added. "It was good to connect many people in need of medical care with doctors, nurses and others who can help them on an ongoing basis."

This was the second massive free clinic the NAFC has sponsored. Over 1,700 patients received treatment at the first one, which was held in Houston in September. Two more C.A.R.E. Clinics are planned in Little Rock on Nov. 21 and Kansas City on Dec. 9-10.

"I'm looking forward to building on the successes in Houston and New Orleans to help even more people," NAFC President Sheri Wood, who is based in Kansas City, said.

More information about the NAFC and the Little Rock and Kansas City events is available online at: http://freeclinics.us.

New Orleans CARE Clinic Preliminary Numbers

  • 68% of patients seen seek medical care in the emergency room or do not seek care when ill
  • 53% of those seen have not seen a doctor in more than one year with many not seeing a doctor since Katrina
  • 90% of patients seen have more than one diagnosis
    • Hypertension and diabetes being the most prevalent
  • 55% of those seen were women and 45% were men

SOURCE National Association of Free Clinics


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SOURCE National Association of Free Clinics
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