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The gift of health care – Nearly 400 served at fifth annual RAM clinic in Pahrump

For some, it may not seem like much – an eye exam, a dental extraction, a women’s health exam, but for some, these services are often out of reach, coming at too high a cost to be borne. So when they are made available free of charge, it’s a blessing that can draw the greatest sense of gratitude.

This was the case for hundreds of residents of the Pahrump Valley and surrounding area when, on Oct. 3 and 4, they were able to head out for the 2020 Pahrump Remote Area Medical Clinic.

Hosted at the Pathways Innovative Education building in a collaboration between the international nonprofit organization Remote Area Medical and the NyE Communities Coalition, which oversees the Pahrump RAM Committee, the event brought a bevy of volunteer medical professionals together with those in need. An incredible $181,789 in total value of care was administered to members of the community throughout just a day and a half of effort.

Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 3rd and 4th, 99 medical exams were performed and 111 pairs of prescription eyeglasses were distributed. Dental services have always been the most sought-after and 2020 proved no exception, with a total of 239 dental extractions performed, 116 fillings completed and 49 dental cleanings provided.

In all, 398 unique patients, including 23 children, were able to receive 100% free medical services at the 2020 clinic, surpassing the number served in 2019 and marking the fifth consecutive year of enormous success for the Pahrump RAM Clinic.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still gripping the nation, this year’s RAM Clinic was quite a bit different than in years past, creating some definite challenges for those organizing and volunteering for the event. However, there was no lack of enthusiasm when it came to meeting those challenges head-on and after all was said and done, it was agreed by all that the 2020 clinic was yet another amazing success.

“The host group that we work with here has been phenomenal. You can tell, just by being here, that not only have they put in a lot of hard work, they have put in a lot of thought,” RAM Volunteer Coordinator Brad Hutchins had told the Pahrump Valley Times as the hustle and bustle of the event was in full swing on Oct. 3. “This is one of the most thoughtful groups that I have had the opportunity to work with. They really care about the community and the people we serve here. It’s been an outstanding experience.”

As to the obstacles posed by the COVID-19 crisis, including the need for increased sanitization measures and a move to an appointment-only process, Hutchins said he felt proud of the way that everything had turned out.

“The largest dynamic in what we do is flexibility. Everybody, through hard work and communication, has really stepped up just to make sure we show up and create that impact,” Hutchins said. He then added a thank you for all the people who had been instrumental in making the clinic happening, remarking, “And it’s our volunteers that really make the difference. We can plan, we can organize but it’s really them, our providers, our support volunteers, who are the ones that really put in the work. Our founder Stan Brock used to say, ‘There are no small roles in RAM. Everybody makes a difference.’”

Pahrump RAM Committee Co-Chair Ryan Muccio said he too was pleased with the overall turnout of the event. Despite a couple of stumbling blocks along the way, such as a few patients with appointments not being seen, overall, Muccio said the committee, volunteers and RAM staffers were able to soldier forth and provide an abundance of much-needed services to nearly all of the patients who attended the clinic this year.

“Our community host group is very pleased with the RAM clinic this year. Despite all of the changes and additional cleaning procedures due to COVID, we were able to see more patients in less time this year in comparison to last year,” Muccio said after the event had wrapped up. “As always, we are forever grateful to RAM for coming back to Pahrump year after year and equally as thankful to all of our sponsors and volunteers that make this possible.”

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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