Tuesday, July 15, 2008

In your own back yard...

So many of us are moved by tragic events and circumstances overseas, but what about the people "in our own backyard" who need help?

On Sunday, I watched a piece on 60 Minutes about an organization called Remote Area Medical (RAM). RAM was established to bring free emergency health clinics to far-flung regions in the developing world. Now, they also are bringing free healthcare to Americans who can't afford it.

In the story on 60 Minutes, people drove all night and slept in their cars for access to healthcare, including general care, vision, and dental care. The man who has had a toothache for months but no health coverage to fix it (and who also had major heart surgery a few years ago but has not been able to afford follow-up care). The woman who had treatment for cervical cancer a few years ago but also has not had follow-up care. The woman who can barely see, needs new glasses, and arrived too late for a vision screening - she choked back tears as she talked about getting help from her church and insisted that "God will provide."

Here's the shocker: "In the expedition to Knoxville, RAM saw 920 patients, made 500 pairs of glasses, did 94 mammograms, extracted 1,066 teeth and did 567 fillings. But when Stan Brock called the last number, 400 people were turned away. "

In America... what a travesty. Please do what you can to keep healthcare on the agenda in this upcoming election. And please, when you are making your philanthropic plans, don't forget to help folks right here, in this country, who desperately need help.

Read the transcript from the 60 Minutes story here.

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