RAM Clinic providing free health care to Monroe County this week

RAM Clinic providing free health care to Monroe County this weekend

Posted:
RAM held a free clinic in Monroe County. RAM held a free clinic in Monroe County.
Many waited patiently at Sequoyah High School to get free medical, dental, and vision care. Many waited patiently at Sequoyah High School to get free medical, dental, and vision care.

By HAYLEY HARMON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

MADISONVILLE (WATE) - Residents in Monroe County took advantage of a free medical clinic this weekend. The clinic has served nearly 700 East Tennesseans on just the first day alone.

Remote Area Medical, better known as RAM, set up in Monroe County, providing free dental, vision and general medical care to anyone who needed it.

"It's a first come, first serve basis. No questions asked," said RAM Director of Clinics Ron Brewer.

The clinic being held at Sequoyah High School in Madisonville.

Hundreds of people packed the school Saturday morning, finally getting the medical care they have desperately needed but haven't been able to afford.

"I think this is wonderful," said Mary Roberts of Sweetwater.

It's been 18 years since RAM has visited Monroe County, offering their free services to the under and uninsured.

RAM officials say the need is great, especially when it comes to dental care. Patients received fillings, cleaning and extractions at the clinic.

"There's a lot of people who have been in a lot of pain for extended periods of time. I met a person that we extracted all their teeth. Unfortunately, they hadn't been able to see a dentist in almost 14 years," said Dr. Joseph Gambacorta, a dentist volunteering with RAM.

Patients needing vision care received eye exams and glasses, made right on site.

"To me, it'll mean being able to read again," said Roberts.

Every single doctor is a volunteer.

"They're all volunteers. All of them give their weekend. All of them give their time," said Brewer.

Gambacorta brought 20 of his students from the dental school at State University of New York at Buffalo.

"We want to bring the experience to the students and we want to help the community, but we also want the students to be aware of the crisis that's going on and the lack of care some people are getting," said Gambacorta.

They want to help as many people as possible get the care they need this weekend.

"We'll be here this evening until the doctors get tired and see as many patients as they can," said Brewer.

The RAM Clinic will be open on Sunday, January 19. Doors open at 6 a.m., but people can start lining up as early as midnight.

Brewer estimates they will see well over 1000 people before the weekend is over.

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