Hundreds of volunteers help give care to patients at free RAM clinic
Hundreds of people across East Tennessee are getting free healthcare this weekend at the Remote Area Medical, RAM, clinic in Mcminn County.
Hundreds of people across East Tennessee are getting free healthcare this weekend at the Remote Area Medical, RAM, clinic in McMinn County.
"I didn't realize it would be so big," said volunteer Ashley Snaddon, "So it's really busy, and it's great to see so many people volunteer."
A line stretched out the door and down to the street for the clinic providing patients with free medical care.
"I like it," said Gwen Lamb, who was in line for the clinic at 9 p.m. the night before it opened, "It's my first time being here so I'm kind of nervous."
With the high cost of medical care, free dental, eye, and health appointments aren't something people are used to.
However, volunteers and organizers with RAM hope to help those who may not otherwise visit the doctor.
"I like that they have this to help people because there's people out there, young people my age, that do have the TennCare but it doesn't pay for vision and eye," said Lamb.
Roughly 800 patients showed up to the first day of the RAM clinic, a surprising number to one volunteer.
"I've been triaging patients as they come in, taking blood pressures and things like that," explained Snaddon.
The busy morning was surprising to to Snaddon, who is an exchange student from Scotland, because there healthcare is free to everyone.
"In the UK all of our healthcare is paid by the government," explained Snadden, "So it doesn't matter what you earn, you get free health care no matter what."
Snadden was one of nearly 400 volunteers helping during the first day of the clinic.
She said the number of patients shows just how important the free clinic is.
"It's a lot of patients, so it just shows how many people are in need and why so many people do need this," said Snadden, "So it's such an important thing."
It's help many patients are happy to get, and help many volunteers and organizers are more than willing to give.
"We're all one catastrophe from being on the other side of the healthcare system, and it's an honor just to be able to be here and serve," said RAM chief operating officer Chris Hall.
The RAM clinic will continue Sunday at McMinn County High School.
Tickets will be given out to patients starting at 3 am and the doors will open at 6 am.
Tickets are given out first-come first- served.
Patients do not have to bring any identification or paperwork, but are asked to bring any prescription medicines with them.