Free Clinic Stops Providing Medical Care

Bev Squibb sorted through piles of prescriptions, while her husband Clive filled those requests. The couple has been operating the "D'Iberville Free Clinic" on Gorenflo Road, since two weeks after Katrina. While they will continue to dispense free medication, they will no longer be able to offer medical care.

"The governor did not sign the state of emergency, which means our doctors cannot get their temporary license," Bev Squibb explained to a man who called the clinic on Thursday.

The Squibbs have been fielding phone calls from worried patients, as well as doctors from all over the country, who want to volunteer in Mississippi.

"I had to call the one that was due to come in and tell him not to buy his plane ticket," Squibb said. "State of shock. Disappointment. You want to sit and cry, but yet you just didn't know what to do."

The Squibbs say closing the clinic will hurt thousands of needy people, like Cynthia Seawright of Ocean Springs.

"I was devastated," Cynthia Seawright said. "I was pissed-off, upset, very angry, because Haley Barbour may think that everything's OK on the coast, but Haley Barbour lives in Jackson."

Even though the clinic is closed for medical services, the Squibbs are not giving up. They are urging Mississippi doctors to come in and volunteer their services. They're also asking the governor and state lawmakers to make an exception and change the law to help keep the clinic open.

"There's a lot of prayers going out. If it's God's will, there'll be a way," Squibb said. "So many doors have been shut in their face suddenly, and we're trying so hard not to shut a door in their face."

A spokesman for the governor's office says Governor Barbour did not renew the state of emergency last Friday, because there has been sufficient progress since Katrina.  As for the licenses for doctors, the governor does not award those. It's under another jurisdiction.

WLOX also contacted the State Board of Medical Licensure, but no one there returned our calls.

By: Trang Pham-Bui