by Max Brantley
ABOVE: Cancer patient with an abscessed tooth and no health insurance.
MORE FROM CLINIC: The Times' Leslie Newell Peacock captured this video.
PATIENT TO POLITICIANS: 'Stand in these lines. Talk to these people.'
A doctor friend, who served a stint in today's clinic, writes:
What type of event in downtown LR do you carry your folding camp chair to in November?
A free clinic.
I saw patients arrive with long items in nylon covers under their arms, and was confused. Evetually, I realized -- folding chairs.
Obviously these folks know more than me and came prepared to stand in line and wait.
It is shades of 3rd world health care today. Faces that showed anxiety or resignation. Working adults, single moms predominated, not street people or folks who appeared to have likelihood of being "illegal immigrants." The care I saw delivered today was humane and caring, but not in an environment that any of us -- patients or providers -- could be proud of. Where do folks go when they need their next appointment?
Volunteers were great. The tea baggers and Vic Snyder Ambushers who I thought might be present, delivering their noblesse oblige duty, were in conspicuous absence.
Every doc I talked with expressed disgust that this type of event is needed in the USA. I hope we are a silent majority of MDs.
Blanche Lincoln's announcement, even though she'll allow a bill to be considered for now, came thru the event like a chill breeze. I heard several folks say "Bill Halter will get a $1,000 check from me next week to run against her." [Note: So far, he's only said he's a candidate for re-election as lieutenant governor.]
I was pleased to se a good turnout from UAMS students from the Colleges of Medicine and Public Health. Idealism and humanitarianism lives in the coming generations.