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Temporary Clinic Offers Health Care To The Needy

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Optometrist Louise Scaflani gives a free eye exam Friday. (CBS)

Optometrist Louise Scaflani gives a free eye exam Friday. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A team of medical volunteers who usually treat patients in remote areas of the globe are lending their skills to those in need right here in Chicago.

The three-day clinic at Malcolm X College is drawing hundreds of people who would normally go without healthcare.

Some of the people started lining up at 5 p.m. Thursday, 12 hours before the clinic opened. It offers free medical, dental and vision exams for the uninsured, underinsured and unemployed.

Erika Walker hadn’t seen a dentist in 15 years. Without health insurance, she couldn’t afford it.

“I need the service, I desperately need the service,” she said.

Turns out her teeth just needed a good cleaning.

But, earlier during a free vision screening, she learned she has a more serious problem: cataracts.

“I would have never known that if I hadn’t came here.”

Walker was referred to a place where she can have cataract surgery.

But, Melvin Hayes, who lost his insurance when he lost his job two years ago, learned he needs a tooth extraction and will be able to get that done right on the spot.

By midday Friday, Dr. Louise Sclafani had already diagnosed glaucoma, cataracts and retinal problems. She also prescribed 15 pairs of glasses.

One pair went to a man who needs perfect vision to pass a truck driver’s test. His glasses will be ready in just a couple of hours.

“It’s his way of functioning, his way of getting a job, way of becoming part of the community and giving back as well,” Sclafani said.

The free clinic runs through Sunday at Malcolm X College.

They still need doctors, nurses and dentists to lend a hand. Volunteering professionals can show up at the college by 5:30 each morning.

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