Remote Area Medical hopes local doctors make an appointment to volunteer at the clinic.
Poppy Green, a Remote Area Medical clinic coordinator from Nashville, was busy checking out Manatee Technical College’s campus Aug. 29 in preparation for the Oct. 13-14 RAM event.
The annual event in East County draws nearly 2,000 patients who need medical, dental and vision care, and Green was making sure everything will be planned just right for the rush. The actual clinic dates have been moved from its usual spot in November to October this year.
“The main entrance space here in the front of the main building will be where we will host most of the medical area, like dentist chairs and eye exams (stations),” Green said.
While the physical setup is being planned, RAM also is trying to line up volunteers with medical expertise.
“The people that we need the most are medical professionals,” Green said.
He estimated the clinic will need at least eight doctors, eight optometrists and approximately eight dentists. Of course, RAM would love an even larger turnout.
Those volunteers will work from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 13 and 6 a.m. to noon Oct. 14.
Green said RAM coordinators always are concerned about the volunteer staff before going into an area because the need is so great.
“We don’t like turning people away,” Green said.
This will be the fourth RAM clinic at MTC. Last year, the clinic had to turn away an estimated 500 people due to a lack of volunteers. Patients are seen on a first-come, first-served basis.
Green emphasized the clinic needs more than just doctors to make everything flow successfully.
“We need general volunteers as well, especially people we call the bucket brigade,” Green said. “The bucket brigade cleans up after every single patient and sterilizes the area for the next patient. That’s crucial.”
Through donations, RAM provides patients with essential items, such as eyeglasses, for free.
MTC will open its parking lot at midnight before each day of the clinic to those who want to get a number that will be called when doors open at 6 a.m. The patients are checked into the system and then wait until their doctor, dentist or eye doctor is ready.
Medical professionals and other volunteers are asked to sign up by Oct. 1, if possible. Potential volunteers can call 865-579-1530.
Green said he always hears from medical volunteers about how much they enjoyed the experience and giving back to the community.
“Every one of our patients are people who need help, and that’s what these doctors got into their fields for ... to help people,” Green said.