Thursday, March 22, 2012
7 News Features: Medical Mission
In Miami-Dade County, there are some 450,000 people without health insurance. Many have never even seen a doctor. In tonight's special assignment report, 7's Robbin Simmons shows us how some local medical students are on a medical mission.
WSVN -- It's early on a Saturday morning, and more than 100 people in Liberty City are lining up for something they desperately need.
Marie Vincent, Does Not Have Insurance: "I don't have insurance, I'm not working."
Merdella Ashborne, Has High Blood Pressure: "The situation is out of control!"
Most do not have insurance or money to get medical care.
Many can't even remember the last time they saw a doctor.
Daynett Roll, Patient: "Um, it's been about five years."
Gregory Hunt: "It's been about six years. No, I don't have healthcare."
Merdella Ashborne, Has High Blood Pressure: "It's terrible! You need to have a doctor check you once a year. I haven't had that opportunity in eight years."
Many ignore or just live with illnesses, aches and pains, never knowing if there's something seriously wrong.
Daynett Roll, Patient: "When you don't have coverage, you're in limbo. You don't know what you have or what you don't have."
But today, lives can be changed.
Students from the UM Miller School of Medicine are giving check-ups for free.
Morgan Sendzischew, Student, UM Miller School of Medicine: "You get to see these patients as people, not just as a number or chart."
But the patients are not the only ones who benefit.
Unlike most med schools, the UM DOCS Program lets students see patients in their first year.
Jenna Bordelon, First Year Medical Student: "DOCS is actually what brought me to this school. It's a big factor."
Medical Student: "I'm usually in the library studying and hitting the books hard, but to be able to apply the things we've learned, to help people, this is what being a doctor is all about."
The students set up and run the health fairs all over South Florida.
Patients get the tests that people with insurance take for granted: eye exams, skin cancer checks, pap smears, blood pressure screenings.
Kaitlyn Young, Student, UM Miller School of Medicine: "We've already seen probably 20 people."
Medical Student: "I'm kind of on an adrenaline rush."
And they are saving lives.
This woman got shocking news. Her blood pressure is dangerously high.
Merdella Ashborne, Has High Blood Pressure: "That was scary for me. It blew me away. I never imagined that my pressure would be that high. I'm so glad that I got up this morning and came out here. Otherwise, only God would know what would happen to me in a few days."
Another surprise comes for Maria Medina during her first eye exam in years.
Jayanth Sridhar, First Year Ophthalmology Resident: "She might have had a stroke in the past, a stroke she may have never had known she had. She is going to need a referral to a neurologist."
Maria Medina: "No idea, nothing about that."
They may not have their official title of "doctor" just yet, but to the patients in need, the students have already earned the respect.
Daynett Roll, Patient: "I'm glad I had an opportunity to come out. These are our doctors of the future."
Robbin Simmons: "The students refer the patients who need medical care to doctors and free clinics. The students offer nine health fairs a year from Broward County to the Keys."
For more info on how to help the DOCS program or to attend a health fair, visit www.umdocs.org