Flooded health clinic offering free medical care again

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Brandy Bazor ran out of her medication last month.  So she made sure she lined-up early Tuesday morning to get into the Bethel Free Health Clinic in Biloxi.

"I was the first person in and the line was like whoom! I was like, 'Lord have mercy!' But it's an awesome clinic," said Bazor.

"We open up at 8:45 in the mornings. I was locked up by two minutes to 9:00," said Clinic Director Judith Jones. "We filled up for the morning. We took all the patients that we could."

The clinic's re-opening is a welcome sight for dozens of patients who don't have insurance or can't afford the co-pay.

"Without this, it would just be tough luck. I wouldn't be able to go to a doctor," said Rodney Ellis of Gulfport.

It's also a big relief for the staff, who spent $180,000 to convert the old building into a health clinic and expand it by 900 feet. The clinic was dedicated on March 14th.

"It was a big disappointment, because we were open, and the patients knew we were back and going," said Jones.  "And we were in our permanent site and bam! Here comes the flood."

Four inches of water poured through the facility during heavy thunderstorms March 27th. Volunteers had to remove the soggy carpeting to air-dry them and pull out the wet baseboards. Some repairs will have to wait and furniture and supplies are still piled up. The volunteers just wanted to get the clinic back up and running as soon as possible.

"It was a sad thing," said Jones. "But when you look back, it was really a blessing that we didn't lose anything. Whatever happens, happens. And we'll just deal with it.  This is God's will. We're supposed to be here doing this, helping each other."

The Bethel clinic is located in the Sun Coast Villa neighborhood off Rodenburg Avenue. It's open on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Doctors see about 50 to 60 patients every week.

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