Local News

Duke Medical Students Gain Experience By Running Clinic For Flood Victims

Posted July 7, 2000

— Duke medical students are getting hands-on experience treating patients, but it is not in a hospital. They are running a health clinic for flood victims in Rocky Mount.

Hundreds of flood victims are still living in trailers in the makeshift city known as FEMAville. However, they can get medical care inside another donated trailer.

Griffin Clark brought her mother to this new health clinic staffed by Duke medical students and doctors. Since the flood, the Clarks have struggled to get from Rocky Mount to their doctors' offices in Tarboro.

"I didn't have no way to get there," Clark says. "I called a cab and they charged me from here to the clinic $15 one way."

Volunteers staff the clinic during the second Saturday of each month. Care ranges from simple blood pressure checks to diagnosing chronic conditions. Some patients have gone untreated for months.

"We just diagnosed a woman with diabetes. It was hard," says Duke medical student Rich Murphy. "It's never easy to hear that, but we're glad we were able to pick it up."

Doctors are trying to treat the body and the mind. Ten months after the storm, many people are still coping with the aftermath of the flood.

"Just today (Saturday), we met a woman whose daughter was almost swept away and since then, she has some anxiety," Murphy says.

Doctors and medical students say they will keep this clinic open as long as flood victims are still living in FEMAville. The health clinic gets some funding from Duke and the state. However, they are operating on a shoestring budget and say they are looking for donations.


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