Georgia medical students run free clinic, gain experience, help underinsured
ATLANTA - In for a checkup, Anthony Freeman remembers how it used to go when his asthma would flare up, and he'd end up frightened and in the emergency room, again.
"When you're hurting, or your dizzy, or your short of breath, that's scary," Freeman says.
The 63-year old single father of a teenage son and disabled adult daughter says the ER was his only option.
Without a job, or health insurance, he had nowhere else to go.
"And no one seems to actually take you seriously when you go in there," says Freeman. "Because they know you don't have money, or insurance to cover it."
The ER visits, Freeman says, left him with $7,000 in bills.
Still, he says the doctors never got to the root of his problem.
The last time, he says he left with "10 pills and a pump."
"They lasted all of maybe about a week," Freeman says. "The pump lasted a little bit longer."
Two months ago, at an open house at his son's high school, Freeman heard about the Morehouse School of Medicine's H.E.A.L. Clinic.
Run by medical students, it's a free Saturday clinic for uninsured and medically-underserved patients, says Chivon Stubbs, a third-year medical student and the clinic's director.
"We offer a full range of services to our patients. We do labs on site. Sometimes we may have to send people places to get maybe a mammogram or things like that, but we do help to cover the cost of those."
Stubbs says the clinic is a "win-win."
The students, who are supervised by Morehouse School of Medicine physicians, get hands-on experience, and the patients like Mr. Freeman get much-needed medical care, she says.
"People are usually very grateful and so appreciative of the services that we offer," Stubbs says. "One patient told us that she felt like a queen for a day, just being here and having the students just attending to her."
Anthony Freeman finally is getting his asthma under control.
"It's great," he says. "I get a chance to see a doctor. I'm not worried as to what's going to happen to me anymore."
To find out more about the H.E.A.L Clinic, visit http://www.morehousehealthcare.com/programs/heal.html