Note: This is the first of our daily reports from the Your Best Pathway to Health free megaclinic being held in Los Angeles this week, organized and staffed by Seventh-day Adventist volunteers.
Your Best Pathway to Health volunteers began pouring into the Los Angeles Convention Center before 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 26, to register for the event and receive their nametags and shirts. As volunteer registration was occurring, there was simultaneously a special registration for pre-op patients who had already signed up online to receive surgeries this week at White Memorial or Glendale Hospital. Nurses and physicians later met with those patients to prepare them for their surgeries at one of those locations in the coming days.
Following the volunteer registration, volunteers waited until the afternoon when convention workers had completed the installation of the poles and drapes for the departments. They filed in to offer assistance in their areas of service or wherever they were needed. Large crates for each department, which had been brought in with numerous forklifts from a nearby warehouse, were opened, and boxes and supplies were taken out and moved to the areas in which they would be used.
In the dental area, one of the largest “zones,” wooden travel dental chairs were set up, sterilized instruments were sorted and made ready, and equipment was tested. In medical, makeshift exam rooms with exam tables and a table for supplies were organized and laid out. In triage, all supplies were organized for use the next morning by providers before releasing them to the department of their choice.
Each patient would be receiving one dental, medical, or eye care service, though they could also couple that service with other services such as massage, haircuts, legal advice, and lifestyle recommendations.
At 4:30 p.m. Pathway to Health directors held a press event for local television stations and answered questions from the press. This was immediately followed by a final general meeting for all volunteers in the evening meeting area. Elder Mark Finley shared a short devotional and testimony regarding a patient from the San Antonio Pathway event who had been blessed by the services she received. It was touching to hear of individuals who wanted to know why the Pathway event in San Antonio occurred and why volunteers traveled at great expense to themselves in order to participate.
Elder Finley’s talk prefaced a crucial preparation for the next day by Pathway directors. Questions regarding transportation, services provided, transfer of patients, and the general flow of traffic were answered and confirmed. Zone managers were introduced, and this meeting was followed by another, smaller meeting held by the managers of the individual zones in which each volunteer would be working.
There is a sense that this event has been bathed in prayer. During the general session Dr. Lela Lewis, the general director, announced that after some last-minute complications with another lab, Quest Diagnostics had agreed to assist Pathway to Health just two days before the event. Much praise is in order for that blessing!
As volunteers walked out of the convention center that evening, some by 9:00 p.m., they could see a line of people already forming! Individuals were already waiting to receive services in the morning. They had lawn chairs, coolers, blankets, or just the clothes on their backs. They would be waiting until around 5:00 a.m., when doors would open to begin the registration process. Some volunteers and directors would themselves be working throughout the night to ensure that everything was in order when the doors opened.
Outside, news correspondents were also on hand for a live shot announcing the event to their viewers and showing a growing line behind them of the uninsured and underprivileged, ready to receive the services they may have needed for quite some time. What a way to show the love of Jesus in action!
Top photo: The Los Angeles Convention Center is a beehive of activity as volunteers set up for the Your Best Pathway to Health clinic. (Photo by Juanita Montelongo)