Remote Area Medical, an organization that provides free medical service around the world, will soon be holding a clinic providing free medical services to Pulaski and surrounding counties, including Lincoln.
The event is being hosted by the Somerset Pulaski Rotary Club and event coordinator Dr. Steve Hieronymus is visiting the counties to raise funds for the event. Hieronymus is seeking $10,000-$15,000 in funds, but the total cost is around $35,000.
Pulaski County and the city of Somerset have donated $5,000 apiece. Hieronymus spoke at last week’s Fiscal Court meeting to ask for financial assistants. He has also visited McCreary and Wayne counties to seek donations.
This is truly a first for not only the Rotary club, but for the county as well. “This is the first time anybody has done it in Pulaski,” former Somerset Pulaski Rotary President Pamela Jensen- Stanley said.
The event will take place at the Southern Middle School located in Somerset. It will last two days, September 17-18 and services offered vary from general medical care, to vision and dentistry.
Diabetes and cardiovascular screenings will be available. Common dentistry care will include fillings, cleanings, extractions and denture care. Eye exams will be offered and if a prescription is simple in nature, the facility will be able to crank out approximately 300 eye glasses in the two day period.
The idea behind the program is simple. “Take medical services to underserved populations,” Hieronymus said.
Everyone is welcome to receive free medical care. Service is available to both the insured and uninsured. Though located in Pulaski adjacent counties can also come to the clinic. Hieronymus estimates that between 1,200 and 1,500 people will attend the event. Services provided in these two days could total around $400,000.
RAM will provide the medical supplies and equipment, but it is up to the local community to supply the volunteers- everything from nurses, doctors, technicians and general help.
RAM is still seeking volunteers and with the event only two months away, Kate Cabrini is hoping that more volunteers will come forward. “We need a lot,” Cabrini said. “Dentists we definitely need.”
About 150 general volunteers are needed, but that does not include the doctors or nurses. Medical professionals don’t have to be practicing in Pulaski, or even in the state for that matter. Since this is a charitable event, laws allow for medical practitioners from outside of the state to volunteer. Medical professionals have to be registered by August 15 to give RAM sufficient time to verify their licenses.
“We are not going to turn anyone away,” Cabrini said.
RAM founder, Stan Brock had spent 15 years in an isolated area in South America, where he witnessed the plight of the local Wapishana Indians. After leaving the Amazon Rainforest, he became the co-star on the television series “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” It became Brock’s personal mission to deliver medical aid to people in the most isolated regions in the world.
Brock was able to form a network of physicians, nurses, technicians and veterinarians who would travel to different parts of the world- at their own expense- to treat thousands of patients. After discovering need for medical care in the United States, RAM headquarters was established in Knoxville, Tennessee. State’s in the Appalachian area where especially vulnerable and clinics were quickly set up throughout Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia. According to the organizational web site, 60 percent of expeditions are serving rural areas in the United States.
The first free clinic in Kentucky was in June of 2008 in Pike County. Due to the success and high turnout, this prompted the creation of RAM KY. Dr. Bill Collins is the chairman of the board and is responsible for many of the events held in the state.
People will be given a number starting at 3:30 a.m. each day prior to the opening of the clinic. The clinic is scheduled to open at 6:00 a.m. and people will be seen on a first come, first served basis. The best advice is to arrive early and be prepared for a potentially long wait.
If interested in volunteering for the event in Pulaski, please fill out the form available online at www.ramusa.org or contact Kate Cabrini at 859-797-6705.