Weeklong free medical clinic heads into Day 2 at LA Sports Arena

People wait in line before dawn for free healthcare service at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on April 27, 2010 in Los Angeles.
People wait in line before dawn for free healthcare service at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on April 27, 2010 in Los Angeles. David McNew/Getty Images

Volunteer doctors, dentists and other health care professionals will be treating legions of uninsured people seeking free treatment today, as a seven-day clinic continues at the Los Angeles Sports Arena.

The first wave of about 5,600 people given wristbands during registration Sunday overwhelmed dentists Tuesday, and about 100 people were told to come back next week. To help streamline operations, dentists limited services to teeth cleanings, extractions or fillings, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The clinic runs through next Tuesday, opening each day at 6 a.m.

Teresa Serna, 48, of Victorville, and her husband were lined up for about 1,200 more place-holding wristbands expected to be handed out, starting about 10 a.m. today.

During the first day of the clinic, a total of 1,157 people were treated, including 64 children, The Times reported.

The clinic is being put on by the nonprofit Knoxville, Tenn.-based Remote Area Medical, which organized a similar event in August at the Forum in Inglewood, where more than 6,000 people got free treatments.

California first lady Maria Shriver came to the sports arena to get an overview Monday, saying the unmet needs exposed by the free clinic were sobering.

Last summer, Medi-Cal dropped its dental program, which covered about 3 million people, to help the state balance its budget.

RAM, comprised of volunteer health care professionals, set up 40 medical exam rooms, 100 dental chairs and 30 eye exam stations and was providing full medical examinations, including mammograms, PAP smears, chest X-rays, diabetes screening, blood pressure screening, dental examinations including cleanings, extractions, fillings, restorative procedures and root canals, prescription eye glass fittings and cataract surgery.

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