LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Each pair of feet has a different story to tell.
What they all have in common is what they don’t have, insurance, in a world where health care revolves around coverage.
Aisha Kahn is a student leader at the Texas Tech School of Medicine. She says, “Every Wednesday, we’re here from at least 3 to 10.”
“Here” is a building that looks like a church in the heart of Lubbock at 34th and Boston. There are no longer services here, but the mission work within these walls is stronger than ever. She explains, “Registration doesn’t start til 4, but people (have been) lining up since 2.” Aisha and all the other medical students spend a lot of hours at this place, running a free medical clinic for the working poor and the uninsured.
It's called Lubbock Impact and Rory Thomas is the Executive Director. She says, “Lubbock Impact started in 2007. It started as a soup kitchen. Now it’s grown and grown with food, clothing, health care and spiritual growth.”
But she adds that it was the free medical clinic in 2009 that changed everything.
Medical students run everything in this clinic, starting with the registration table.
When we were there, Priscilla was in line to pick up new glasses because if she can’t see, she can’t work.
When asked if she has insurance, she said politely, "No ma’am. Not yet."
William has a lot of problems that come with diabetes. He told me that he needs this free because "I can’t afford to go to the doctor and they help with my medication.”
Patricia said she suffers from depression and anxiety. It's difficult for her to work because she can’t stand up for very long. She says, "The medicine I have to have I couldn’t get elsewhere because I don’t have any money."
With all the studying that comes with medical students, it's hard to imagine all these students spending so manya hours operating a free medical clinic.
So why help all these people?
Dr. Fiona Prabhu, Medical Director of Lubbock Impact, said, "Because it's the right thing to do."
From a financial standpoint, Dr. Prabhu says if these people were not treated here, they would be in costly emergency rooms. But more than that, she says this place brings a valuable lesson to medical students. "Poverty is very different in the U.S. than what it looks like in different countries. It’s good that they make that awareness. This is why we went into medicine in the first place."
All these medical students and teachers volunteer their time. At this clinic, no one is paid. Even the t-shirts they are given come with a lesson: Health has no zip code.
Dr. Kelly Bennett helped launch this clinic with Dr. Prabhu and the medical students in 2008.
As Dr. Bennett helps pass out those t-shirts, she tells the students, "It doesn’t matter where you’re from, where you’re going, or what you do. You deserve to be taken care of."
And over the years, as more volunteers have answer the call, the need has grown from 16 patients the first night it opened to more than 1600 patient visits here last year.
Dr. Prabhu says they are very proud of what they have accomplished, but she adds, "We could not exist without donations because of the sheer volume of people who access the clinic."
That's why the Lubbock County Medical Society has organized a fundraiser to help raise money for the free medical clinic. That group has set up an online auction where you can bid on vacation packages, jewelry, dental work, everything from tickets to a Lady Gaga concert to a horse and a trainer.
All the auction items are available for public bidding through December 13th.
Just go to the Lubbock County Medical Society Foundation Silent Auction.
Please sign up for an account through the link below so that you can start your bidding.