Free health clinic benefits uninsured in New Orleans - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Free health clinic benefits uninsured in New Orleans

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New Orleans, La. - A clinic at the Convention Center offers a chance for people without health insurance to be seen by a doctor, for free.

Bryan Coleman served in the United States Navy for six and a half years, touring the world and even spending time in Afghanistan. But today, he finds himself unemployed and uninsured.

"It's been about 10 years since the last time I seen a doctor," Coleman said.

Coleman is one of about 1,000 people who doctors expected to show up at the Convention Center Wednesday. The National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics organized this event to help people in need, first giving everyone a regular physical and then providing them with specialized testing.

But the help doesn't stop there.

NAFCC Executive Director Nicole Lamoureux explains, "They also can receive three free months of medication, because it doesn't help if you find out you're a diabetic but you can't afford your medication. After the patients go through all of that, they then receive information on where they can go in their local community for follow-up care."

This is actually the fourth time this organization has held a health clinic here in New Orleans, and Lamoureux says more and more patients have showed up each time.

800 volunteers helped guide people through the process Wednesday, including doctors, nurses and people who've never worked in the health care field before but just wanted to donate their time.

Volunteer Sharon Garrison says, "It's just really amazing to understand the people that end up not having health care. It's just amazing to me and it's one of the big causes that my husband and I work for."

Dr. MarkAlain Dery says even he is stunned by how severe the health care problem is, saying, "Some of them are telling me these stories of $200 to go see a physician, plus labs that go with it. So these are individuals that are working, the working poor who are unable to access the health care system and this is the only way for them to do it."

Which is why Dr. Dery and organizers of this free clinic say it's so important.

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