Over 200 people receive free medical care at Bridgeport event



BRIDGEPORT – Washing someone’s feet may seem like an act of love, but it can actually be a vital act of health care, said Bill Hoey, Hartford HealthCare vice president of Mission Integration Fairfield Region.

Foot washing was one of many services provided during Hartford HealthCare and St. Vincent’s Medical Center’s 7th “Home Medical Mission”, which took place at Cesar Batalla School in Bridgeport on Saturday. During the event, 240 volunteers from St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Bridgeport – along with other organizations – provided free medical care to 211 people.

Services provided included vaccinations, basic medical exams and health exams, behavioral health exams and, yes, foot washing. The latter serve, Hoey said, may be more vital than most people realize.

“Washing the feet is not just an act of love or basic primary care, but with clinical experience can identify if there is a problem (with the feet) that needs to be evaluated by a doctor” Hoey said.

He saw this in action on Saturday when one of the footwash volunteers – whose “day job” is a trauma surgeon – attended to a woman in her 50s who complained of a painful lump on her skin. his foot. The volunteer quickly diagnosed the woman with gout, a form of arthritis.

“If she hadn’t been there to wash her feet, this gout would not have been diagnosed,” Hoey said.

Incidents like this illustrate the importance of the medical mission, he said. Many of the people served at the event have likely not had a physical visit for some time for economic reasons. It’s a way for them to get basic care, Hoey said. The program is intended for people 18 years of age and over and no insurance was required.

The program was suspended last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although a smaller version, which only served 100 people, took place in June at the Thomas Merton Center in Bridgeport.

During Saturday’s event, Hoey said, volunteers provided 22 COVID-19 vaccines, 85 influenza vaccines, five pneumonia vaccines and five Tdap vaccines (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis). More than half of those who came benefited from the foot washing service, which also included free pairs of clean socks and shoes.

Hoey said that one of the remarkable things about this year’s mission is that it is likely that many of the people served will continue to follow their personal health care. He said 48 patients had booked follow-up appointments with a primary care provider and seven behavioral health appointments.

“This is a huge number that will receive follow-up care,” Hoey said.



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