Tacoma Dome becomes giant doctor's office for free health clinic

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by ALLEN SCHAUFFLER / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 29, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 4 at 10:45 AM

TACOMA, Wash. -- Volunteer doctors and nurse practitioners greeted some 1,500 people who don't have health insurance at the Tacoma Dome Saturday. It was a one day opportunity for those people to get a check-up absolutely free.

"I'm without insurance for the first time, so I'm thankful for this," said Patricia Shoop.

She's worked since she was 18, but is now retired and can't afford insurance.

"It's painful. Painful to know that you've worked hard and then there's nothing and I'm too young for Medicare," said Shoop.

There was a wide range of medical care available, from basic examinations to screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, pregnancy and more.

The National Association of Free Clinics runs it all. This is their first on the West Coast.

"Uninsured does not equal unemployed. So many people have a job but they just don't have that insurance that goes along with it," said Nicole Lamoreaux, NAFC Executive Director.

Shoop hadn't seen a doctor in nearly 18 months.

"I found out I had have high blood pressure, which I didn't know, and then they did an EKG so I'm interested in that because I've been having some heart issues," said Shoop.

This is the tenth major free clinic NAFC has held in the U.S., with medical professionals donating their time and brightening thousands of lives.

"This is just a wonderful way to screen for pepole who have nothing and are hoping for a future," said Shoop.

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