Free Medical Clinic Ends Eightday Run At The Forum 2009: Inglewood Needy

Free medical clinic ends eightday run at The Forum

INGLEWOOD – The last needy patients to land a spot in a massive free medical clinic lined up before dawn Tuesday outside The Forum,
grateful for a place in line, and eager for an aching tooth or two to be pulled, or a new pair of bifocals to be made. Tuesday marked the last of an eight-day stretch of free medical, dental and vision care in Los Angeles, where the parking lot at The Forum had been transformed into one of the largest waiting rooms in the nation. Hundreds of volunteer dentists, optometrists, pediatricians and other specialists served more than 6,000 people inside the 18,000 seat arena, filled each day by men and women who had no choice but to wait for hours for free care because they had little or no health insurance or money. Over the eight days, dentists extracted 2,200 teeth, completed almost 5,500 fillings and performed nearly 2,000 cleanings. Nearly 1,800 pairs of eyeglasses were made and 400 women received mammograms. “Thank God for this,” said Brenda Lemonious, a 55-year-old Inglewood woman who sat in line in the parking lot with her friend Linda Harris, who hadn’t been able to visit a dentist for five years. Both women held part-time jobs – Lemonious as a crossing guard and Harris at a nearby Sears – which didn’t qualify them for health insurance. “In this country it shouldn’t be like this,” Lemonious said. “But this sheds light that we do have a problem.”
The services were coordinated by an international nonprofit called Remote Area Medical. Formed in 1985, RAM has held 575 such clinics all over the world. It became better known after a story about its work was seen on a national news program showing Americans driving hundreds of miles to get to a RAM clinic just to have an abscessed tooth pulled or a prescription filled.

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