1500 uninsured find free health care at makeshift hospital

african kings

It is an illustration of just how big the problem of affordable health care has become.

A group of doctors who started out providing free services in third-world countries has also been working in this country, and they’re seeing record numbers of Americans needing their help.

They streamed in by the hundreds, camping out overnight just for the chance to see a doctor. Many say they’re hurting for health care.

Some are literally in pain. Angel Rivera has a tooth problem. “I was going to take the damn thing out with a pair of pliers,” said Rivera.

Well before dawn, just about every race and every age packed overflowing bleachers. Only 1,500 can be seen today; hundreds were turned away.

It’s first come first serve for free health care. Those with a ticket into the LA Forum found a sports complex turned mobile hospital.

Daneen Powell has a temp job but no insurance. She hasn’t seen a doctor in 5 years and she’s never had a mammogram.

“I just really need to get in and see someone,” said Powell.

Remote Area Medical (RAM) began working in developing countries in 1985. Here at home, they focus on rural communities without medical services.

But the need for free health care has become so dire in this country, for the first time ever RAM is making stops in major cities like Los Angeles.

“The people that are coming to these events are simply those that don’t have access or cannot afford the care they need,” said founder Stan Brock. “A lot of the people we see have jobs.”

But even for many of them, free health care is the only health care they can afford.

And 12 hours later, Deneen Powell says she is grateful. She has a job, and today she has her health care.

Discuss this story with the Essence.com community.