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Remote Area Medical offers free healthcare to impoverished Appalachia

Mark Makela / Reuters

People wait to receive a wristband number for medical treatment at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) clinic in Wise, Va. on July 20. RAM clinics bring free medical, dental and vision care to uninsured and under-insured people around the world.

Mark Makela / Reuters

RAM founder Stan Brock calls patients wristband numbers at the RAM clinic in Wise, Va. The Wise clinic was the 647th RAM expedition since 1985 and drew 1,700 patients from 14 states, organizers said.

Mark Makela / Reuters

A patient has an eye exam at the Wise, Va. RAM clinic on July 20.

Mark Makela / Reuters

Dentists work on patients at the RAM clinic in Wise, Va.

Mark Makela / Reuters

Joe Roberts, from Sutherland, Va., intending to have ten teeth extracted, waits for his wristband number to be called at the RAM clinic on July 20.

Remote Area Medical clinics bring free health, dental and vision care to uninsured and under-insured people across the country and abroad. The Wise, Va. clinic held on July 20, was the 647th RAM expedition since 1985 and drew 1,700 patients from 14 states, organizers said.

Reuters photographer, Mark Makela wrote in his blog: Witnessing horrific health cases, one after the other, was a heartbreaking experience.

A 20-year-old had 20 teeth extracted. A mother of two who lost her job due to poor eye sight came for eye care and glasses. A three-year-old had to undergo oral surgery for a root canal and front teeth extraction. These were just a few of the heart-wrenching health cases I observed.

There was a chronic pattern of poor oral hygiene and due to patients’ extreme dental pain they asked for teeth extraction instead of teeth repair. Continue reading

Photos in this blog post were taken on July 20, but made available to NBC News today.

 

Mark Makela / Reuters

A dentist displays extracted teeth at the Wise, Va. RAM clinic, and drops them in a gallon jug of distilled water.

Mark Makela / Reuters

A board lists the variety of medical talks offered at the RAM clinic.

Mark Makela / Reuters

A chihuahua named Bella leans on her owner the night before the RAM clinic opens in Wise, Va. on July 19.

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