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Clinic To Provide Medical Help For 'Street People'

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Clinic To Provide Medical Help<br><br>By Jill Crabtree<br><br>(News Staff Reporter'<br><br>The Ann Arbor Free Medical Clinic, on the second floor aF 302 E. Liberty, is scheduled to open tomorrow, complete with a laboratory, a waiting room and two examining rooms.<br><br>The clinic will be incor- director for the clinic, says porated as a non-profit organ- the idea for the free clinic, to ization, and will treat “street be located in the same build-people” without charge. It ing as Ozone House and Drug will be staffed on a volunteer Help, Inc., began when these<br><br>basis by doctors munity, registered lab technicians. Mike Policht,<br><br>i the com- organizations were contac-and ed for counseling help by young people who had medical problems as well.<br><br>The organizations used to send these cases to Dr. Edward Pierce, who operates a sliding fee medical clinic on Summit Street.<br><br>But Pierce’s clinic, which has a substantial low income clientele of its own, soon became overloaded with these cases, Policht said. “He finally had to ask us to stop sending more.”<br><br>Dr. Owen Haig, instructor i n internal medicine a t University Hospital and one of the central members of the clinic’s coordinating committee, said the clinic will be a place where street people can go to get medical care they can’t or won’t get from existing medical facilities.<br><br>“Many of the kids fear they will get busted (arrested for drug violations) if they go to one of the city’s regular facilities, or they feel they won’t get the same treatment others do. They say they have had bad experiences, or they simply don’t have the money. So they don’t go."<br><br>Haig identifies two major medical problems street people have—infectious disease<br><br>and malnutrition. Among the most common infectious diseases, he says, are hepatitis, contracted in unsanitary conditions or from unsterile needles used to inject drugs, venereal disease (now in epidemic proportions throughout the nation), bronchitis and pneumonia.<br><br>He says some sufferers from these diseases, bee of their fear of treatment at existing facilities, do not seek medical help until they are near death.<br><br>The clinic will admit patients Monday through Thursday 7-9:30 p.m., with doctors working until about 11:30 p.m., Policht says. On Saturdays, patients may come in from 1-3 p.m.<br><br>The clinic will be staffed by two lab technicians and 1 istered nurse each day. rently, there are about 15 technicians and 12 nurses who have volunteered to work in rotating shifts. However, clinic organizers say this is not enough.<br><br>“We need all we can get,”<br><br>says Nancy Lessin. “Since volunteers are working on their own time, in addition to regular duties, we are trying to get enough people so each individual won’t have to do so much.”<br><br>Negotiations are currently in progress with University Hospital Executive and Policy Committee to allow residents and interns to work at the clinic on voluntary assignment and still be covered by the University’s “umbrella” malpractice insurance.<br><br>Clinic organizers are also seeking access to University diagnostic equipment such as x-ray machines, as well as a referral agreement for patients requiring hospitalization.<br><br>The Ann Arbor News, Monday, November 30, 1970 7<br><br>For [Street People9<br><br>No agreement will be reached in these negotiations by the time the clinic opens, however, because the hospital committee is not scheduled to meet until after that date. In the interim, the clinic will be staffed by the 12 private doctors with their own malpractice insurance who have so far volunteered.<br><br>The clinic is still in need of several furniture items including tables, chairs, floor cushions, stools for the laboratory, fluorescent light bulbs, and a refrigerator.<br><br>Some financial help and equipment has alredy been donated by interested groups and individuals. The Washtenaw County Health department, a pharmaceutical com-<br><br>pany and a hospital supply manufacturer have agreed to provide some drugs and equipment. The Kiwanis Club and a medical student honorary have offered cash donations.<br><br>says governmental<br><br>___ have not been<br><br>cached for funds, howev-“We’re walking a fine<br><br>line” he explains. “On the one hand we need the help.-On the other, too much of those kind of connections would only alienate the people the clinic is intended to serve.”<br><br>Donations o f furniture, money or equipment may be made by calling 668-8315 or 769-6549.