Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Schoolchildren get their eyes tested at T.H.E. Clinic in South Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Wanda Hall waits at T.H.E. Clinic in South Los Angeles to see a doctor for an injured foot, have her blood checked for diabetes and pick up asthma medication.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Holding her cane, a patient waits for a ride after a doctor's appointment at T.H.E. Clinic.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Wanda Hall shrieks in pain while getting her injured foot examined.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Margaret Palomares, 64, uses a breathing machine after being diagnosed with asthma.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

A young patient gets a check up at T.H.E. Clinic.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Giovanna Lopez, 4, leans on her mother in the waiting room. Patients can wait as long as two hours to see a doctor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Holding her cane, a patient waits for a ride after a doctor's appointment.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

Dusk sets in across the street from T.H.E. Clinic off Western Avenue in South Los Angeles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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To Help Everyone Clinic in South L.A.

By Anna Gorman

Nurse practitioner Matt Tomlin steps into a small patient examination room, logs onto a computer and up pops a formidable list of ailments for the 57-year-old woman sitting in front of him.

Hypertension. Diabetes. Congestive heart failure. Obesity. Anxiety disorder. Multiple heart attacks.

When he turns and politely introduces himself, Rosemary Ricks, hunched over in a bright yellow dress, moans and describes a fall she took earlier in the week. “I try to tolerate pain, but I just can’t take it anymore,” she says, dropping her head in her hands. She wants her pain medication and other prescriptions refilled. For emphasis, she pulls a dozen medicine bottles, most empty, from her black purse.

“Wow, you are on a little bit of everything,” says Tomlin, looking official in his white lab coat but sounding a bit unsure about what to say next.

After a quick exam and a few inquiries, Tomlin steps out to call the pharmacy, and lets loose a sigh. “I’m pretty overwhelmed, to tell you the truth,” he says. “She’s got a lot going on.”

Nonprofit community clinics like this one in South Los Angeles are part of a medical safety net created a generation ago to help fill the unmet needs of poor, uninsured and chronically ill patients in struggling rural and urban communities. A product of the 1960s War on Poverty, the clinics form a network of 1,250 centers nationwide that provide healthcare and social assistance, surviving on a mix of federal and state grants, fundraising and reimbursements from government insurance plans.

Read the full report: A crucial test for an outpost of healthcare in South L.A.

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