The media is waking up the revolutionary work that our volunteers at Occupy Medical (OM) are doing in the community. We are showing up on the radio, TV and the internet. Check out the links for updates of OM’s upcoming projects and to keep track of our history.

Occupy Medical: ‘If you need help – you get help’

EUGENE, Ore. — Every Sunday from noon to 4pm, volunteers gather at their “mobile clinic” to make a difference, and offer free healthcare in downtown Eugene, Ore. What started as a temporary first aid tent along the Occupy Eugene movement in October 2011 became the Occupy Medical clinic in February 2012.

Sue Sieralupe, a certified herbalist, was one of the founders of Occupy Medical. She has been the clinic manager since it started.

“What we are trying to do is show Oregonians what it looks like to have single-payer,” she says, a system in which the government pays for all health care costs. “It doesn’t matter how much money you have, how much insurance you have, what your background is, if you need help -you get help. That’s it .”

With around 30 volunteers, including ten nurses, three doctors, three people on the herbal supplement team, four people in the mental health committee and two people on the pharmacy team, Occupy Medical provides 100 percent free treatment. If the volunteers can’t offer the service needed, they also go “behind the scenes” in other organizations to help people through it.

As the clinic manager, Sieralupe solicits funds, donations and supplies. She looks at the volunteers’ background to put them in the right job. She is also the spokesperson for Occupy Medical. She attends panels with other healthcare advocates, and gives classes at OSU on how to open your own clinic.

Wearing her t-shirt “Healthcare is a human right” with pride, she estimates she spends 20 hours a week to keep the clinic running, and, along with her full-time job, she still has kids at home. “And yet, somehow I end up here every Sunday. I’ve had two Sundays off since it started,” she says.

She suspects the community sees them as a first aid tent for the homeless. “This is a great delusion, the fact is that 40% of our patients are homeless, and the rest have homes. A huge chunk of them have insurance but they can’t use it,” she says.

Occupy Medical clinic is a holistic clinic. “Holistic medicine is a system of health care which fosters a cooperative relationship among all those involved, leading towards optimal attainment of the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of health,” as defined by the Canadian Holistic Medical Association, according to Sieralupe.

When you enter the mobile clinic, you meet a nurse who makes an assessment. The next station is with a doctor, after this a nurse takes you to the treatment station where you can choose from pharmaceuticals, herbal treatment, nutritional support and homeopathic aid.

“Every week we get more opportunities to offer more complex care,” she says. Other clinics are even referring their patients to them.

“I am glad they are here,” Aaron says, a social worker  recommended to help by personnel from White Bird Clinic in Eugene. Aaron has a job, a home, but he can’t afford healthcare.

People come for ear infections, sore throats or more serious conditions. “It just takes a few minutes and we offer them options,” Sieralupe says. “And make no mistake, it’s first aid but we are also saving people’s lives.”

Sieralupe hopes that people will follow her lead in the future and create free clinics all over the country. “My hope is that eventually there will be no use for us.”

 

Original Article: http://www.kval.com/news/local/Occupy-Medical-goes-mobile-If-you-need-help-you-get-help-198618321.html

Occupy Medical Ready for Next Phase

By Susan Latiolait for Eugene Daily News

Since its start in October of last year, Eugene’s Occupy Medical Clinic has continued to serve Eugene residents who do not have health insurance. Located at the Park Blocks on 8th and Oak between 12pm and 4pm every Sunday the clinic started as a simple first aid tent. Today, Occupy Medical aims to model the single payer health care system, as they believe it is best for everyone. They have not only grown in the amount of patients they are able to offer and the amount of volunteered help they receive each week.

First serving about 16 to 18 patients each Sunday, the clinic is now serving about 20-25 patients, due to the exponential amount of volunteer support and help that certified health care members are able to provide.

Consequently, Occupy Medical is looking to possibly open a Friday clinic as well.

Sue Sierralupe, the Occupy Medical Clinic Manager, is overwhelmed with the continued growth in volunteer numbers, and she is grateful to see how willing these “cream of the crop” workers are to provide care to the Eugene community.

“These health care providers who are volunteering for us are relieved to finally have a place where they can open up and advocate for their patients,” said Sierralupe. “And that is what we do, we are all about the patients. Insurance companies don’t tell us what do, we just offer the best patient care.”

As their services grow, so does the support from the community. This is not to say the clinic has not had its fair share of trouble. In December of 2011, the Occupy Medical Clinic faced initial trouble from Eugene police due to the fact that around 40 perfect of the patents were homeless.However, Sierralupe has noticed a tremendous difference in the community’s reaction to their services.

The Occupy Medical tent in Eugene. Photo courtesy of Occupy Medical.

“The police, like the general public, seem to have completely changed their views from what they initially thought Occupy Medical was. Now, I see nothing but support. They realize we are there to help just like they are,” explained Sierralupe. “That kind of evolution is what I really love.”

With strong community support, Occupy Medical is now looking to provide even further care, particularly to their high percentage of homeless patients. Sierralupe said that helping the homeless is deep in her heart, and with colder months ahead, she is specifically concerned with diseases such as whooping cough and pneumonia affecting Eugene’s homeless population.

“They can’t get the required bed rest, the can’t stay warm, they can’t get a good night sleep, so you can bet they will have hard time getting the proper medication and they will catch these diseases and they will die,” stated Sierralupe. “And this is why Lane County Health is so interested in helping our community before it comes around.”

Along with offering vaccines and possibly opening a Friday clinic, Sierralupe and Occupy Medical are hoping to have open and available public bathrooms for both patients and workers. Furthermore, they are looking forward to continue their alliance with St.Vincent de Paul with their dental clinics that they offer four times a year, with their next clinic being held on January 12th.

Eventually Sierralupe would like to see Occupy Medical clinics spread out among the community. She is also looking forward to and hoping for the day when health care is provided to everybody without any exceptions.

“In the long run, I don’t want the need for Occupy Medical,” Sierralupe explained. “I would like to see the right to health care for all. It is unhealthy to have un-managed health conditions around our community, not for anyone. It is our belief that everyone should have health care. You cannot survive as a community with unhealthy members, and I don’t think health care for everyone is that much to ask.”

If you want to learn more about the Occupy Medical Clinic or want to support their efforst, visit their site at www.occupymedics.wordpress.com.

Original Article: http://eugenedailynews.com/2012/12/03/occupy-medical-ready-for-next-phase/

Occupy Good Health

Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard

Steve Hayes winced as a nurse washed his left hand, which was turning all kinds of queasy colors around an open wound right between his thumb and first finger.

“You’ve got to wash this with soap and water,” Susan Sanazaro explained as she gently cleaned out an oozing hole the size of a quarter. “And then you want to cover it and change the dressing every day.”

Hayes, 35, was one of more than a dozen patients who showed up Sunday for Occupy Eugene’s free weekly medical clinic in downtown’s Park Blocks.

The Eugene man, who works in a call center and doesn’t have health insurance, said he spilled boiling hot water on his hand five days ago while making tea for himself. He hadn’t seen a doctor until now because he couldn’t afford one, he said.

“Thank you so much for helping,” he said to Sanazaro as he stood up to leave, a fresh white bandage now wrapped around the burned hand. “This was starting to get a little depressing, frankly.”

Based since last month in a converted bloodmobile that was given by an anonymous donor, the Occupy Eugene medical clinic got its start in a tent earlier this year.

The clinic operates from noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. It sees all patients at no charge and is staffed by a regular group of 23 volunteer doctors, nurses and other health care workers.

For clinic coordinator Sue Sierralupe, an herbalist in her day job, the Occupy clinic opens a window into the cracks and fissures of America’s health care system.

Only 40 percent of its patients are homeless. “The rest are working people with no insurance,” she says.

That describes Bruce Nelson, a 50-year-old mechanic who drove up on Sunday from Yoncalla – for the second time in two weeks – to get medical attention for a problem with his foot.

He’s just taken a new job, he explained while waiting to be seen by the Occupy doctor, and won’t have health insurance until January.

Nelson isn’t quite certain about the politics of Occupy Eugene. The organization grew out of last year’s Occupy Wall Street protests, which condemn the wide social and economic inequalities in countries such as the United States.

But Nelson endorses the clinic wholeheartedly.

“I don’t know the whole story behind it,” he said. “I don’t know what all this is. But I think they’re great.

“This is a great opportunity for people like me who don’t have health insurance to get to see a doctor.”

Occupy’s medical bus is set up much like a conventional doctor’s office, only much smaller. When you walk in the front door, you sit down, practically knee to knee, with a nursing student who fills out some very basic paperwork about you and your medical issues.

Pass through a curtain into another tiny chamber and you sit down with a doctor, who might write a prescription or, as in Hayes’ case, send you through to the next small room for a nurse to clean and bandage your wound.

Deborah Frisch, the clinic’s “data management coordinator,” shared a handwritten list of patients from the past two weeks (their names carefully removed to ensure privacy) along with diagnoses.

They included, in order from a recent Sunday, unspecified “lesions,” an infected cyst, an elbow injury, respiratory infection, bipolar disorder, a hernia, gingivitis, two cases of asthma and an ear infection – the kind of illnesses and injuries that might be seen in any more-upscale doctor’s office.

But this isn’t an ordinary doctor’s office in another important sense.

Frisch explained that a young pregnant woman recently came in to seek help for what turned out to be false labor. The usual therapy, Frisch explained, is to send the patient home with a prescription for a hot bath and relaxation.

This woman, though, lived with her boyfriend in a tent. Occupy found them a warm place to stay for the night, Frisch said.

Besides its charitable aspects, Sierralupe points out practical advantages that the Occupy Eugene medical bus brings to the community.

It could, she says, serve as a frontline defense against the advance of such diseases as pertussis, also known as whooping cough, which has been spreading at a high rate in Washington state and is on the rise in Lane County, as well.

It makes straightforward fiscal sense, she says, to vaccinate and treat people early on for a disease like pertussis instead of letting it establish a foothold in the community.

“Two weekends ago, half of the patients we saw had a bronchial condition of some kind,” she said. “There are a lot of smokers in this population. Their immune systems are constantly at risk.

“Bronchitis is just crazy high in this area.”

But the clinic is facing obstacles.

There are, for example, no public restrooms on the Park Blocks; the nearest public toilet is a couple of blocks away. That affects patients and volunteers alike.

“We have a lot of senior citizens with a wealth of experience who would like to volunteer,” she says, “but they need regular restroom breaks.”

From such humble beginnings, Sierralupe hopes, a grass-roots health care revolution eventually might grow.

“I would love to see more buses like this all over Oregon,” she says. “But we’re the only Occupy medical clinic in the country.”

Original article: http://www.registerguard.com/web/updates/29061962-47/clinic-occupy-eugene-medical-health.html.csp