1,300 receive free medical care at SC Mission 2013 - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

1,300 receive free medical care at SC Mission 2013

People wait in line to be seen by doctors at SC Mission 2013 People wait in line to be seen by doctors at SC Mission 2013

Perry Robinson is one of the more than 1,300 people who filed into the South Carolina State Fairgrounds Friday morning. He said he isn't feeling well, but knew how expensive it could be to go to the doctor and for the medicine to get better.

"It can get pretty expensive," he said. "$1,000 here, $1500 there."

He isn't paying anything to see the doctor Friday. And if he needs medication, he won't have to pay for that either, thanks to a joint partnership between some local hospitals and doctors, and an army of volunteers.

"It's definitely benefiting the whole Palmetto State as a whole, because a lot of people need help," said Robinson. "It's great to see that somebody is sponsoring so that everybody can benefit from it."

The goal is more than just providing a quick medical fix. Organizers want the people who attend to meet the doctors and get scheduled to get the care they may need long term.

"We want to make sure that the patients who come through here, that this is not a one-time affair, so they can get a medical home," said Shalama Jackson with SC Mission 2013 Midlands. "Each year we've seen between a 1,000 and 1,500 patients."

They're looking to see many people come out again this weekend. The event's Medical Director, Dr. Leon Bullard said there is significant focus on women's health this year.

"Last year probably 50 patients requested a PAP-smear and said they hadn't had one in years," he said. "Thanks to the volunteering of services of our pathology group, they agreed to review the PAP smears and track down any abnormalities, in an effort to prevent the disease cervical cancer."

85 women received mammograms, and 108 PAP smears were taken.

Organizers say 600 people sought medical treatment. 545 prescriptions were filled. Doctors saw 589 patients seeking eye care, providing 537 pairs of free eyeglasses.

People who ordered eyeglasses can pick them up at Midlands Eye Care Clinic, 2000 Hampton Street, 2nd Floor, in Columbia.  The phone number is 803-576-2847.

49 people were tested for HIV.

A lot of people have asked why there was no dental program included in this event this year. Organizers say it was included last year because the SC Dental Association had an event that just happened to fall on the same weekend. That event this year is three weeks from now in Charleston.

This is the third year for SC Mission 2013: Midlands. 

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