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Massive Free D.C. Clinic Draws 1,800 Uninsured Patients

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At the massive free one-day clinic in D.C., volunteers set up 76 temporary exam rooms for doctors and their patients.
Jonathan Wilson
At the massive free one-day clinic in D.C., volunteers set up 76 temporary exam rooms for doctors and their patients.

By Jonathan Wilson

Hundreds are receiving medical care at a free clinic at the Washington Convention Center today and the turnout has been even greater than organizers expected.

Approximately 1,500 uninsured patients made appointments ahead of time, as they were encouraged to do.

But by this morning, more than 300 walk-in patients were waiting for their free medical care.

The event's Executive Director Nicole Lamoureaux says the number of walk-ins was a surprise, but one the 1,000 volunteers here were well prepared for.

"The most patients we've ever seen in one day is about 2,000, in Houston, Texas," she says. "We know we're capable, and we're excited to be here."

Marlie Jenkins was the very first patient seen Wednesday. She says it's been two years since her last checkup, and though she's worried about her sugar levels, the free health care has her smiling.

"I got my blood checked, my EKG -- it's just a blessing to see a doctor today," she says.

The event was put together by the National Association of Free Clinics. It's the seventh time the group has done this, but the first such clinic in the nation's capital.

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