Member Report: Volunteering at the Seattle/King County Clinic

I had the great experience of volunteering for the Seattle/King County Clinic (SKC Clinic) that was held at Key Arena from Oct 26-29 this Fall. I was overwhelmed by the abundance of altruism, compassion, and love displayed by all the volunteers involved in this amazing endeavor.

The SKC Clinic provided thousands of people with no or very little insurance coverage and those who are homeless or low income, with free medical care including physical exams, prescriptions, X-rays, ultrasound, lab work, and wound care. There was also a dental unit providing fillings, extractions, partials, root canals, toothpaste, floss, and toothbrushes. Additional services included acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, optometry, mental health and naturopathic medicine. Social workers were on hand to help people sign up for Medicaid and connect with local clinics for continuity of care.  Healthy snacks and beverages were provided each day for both patients and volunteers.

My role was to provide naturopathic services and physical exams. I saw men and women from all over Western Washington as well as from Kenya, Ethiopia, Mexico, Korea, China, Philippines, Persia, and many other areas. I treated many conditions including Reynaud’s Syndrome, Lupus, stage IV breast cancer, prostate cancer, diabetes, hypothyroidism, urinary incontinence, PTSD, anxiety and depression, perimenopause, hypertension, and arthritis.

It was clear to me that every single patient I saw was grateful for the care being offered. The administrative staff made me feel appreciated for volunteering as well.

Key Arena was filled with positive energy – however, I was surprised that I was the only ND to participate year. I was told another ND had signed up for Thursday and Friday but then didn’t show up, so I was the only ND there on Saturday and Sunday.

I believe being asked to an event like this vindicates our profession. The fact that patients request to see an ND attests to the value they put on the medicine we provide.

Hopefully, more NDs can join together for next year’s clinic and I encourage you to participate! You will not regret doing it. This is truly an amazing program. Volunteering for the SKC Clinic was one of the best experiences of my career.

Maria Putney, ND

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