Tuesday , May 28 2024

To Help Those Experiencing Homelessness, Tulare Street Medicine Team Starts With Health

People experiencing homelessness often rely on the hospital emergency room for medical care. In Porterville, Vera Miles has done it multiple times. She’s lived under the trees along the Tule River in Porterville for five years. The 60-year old shares the space with her partner. She says she isn’t worried about getting the coronavirus. “I think we’re safer down here than anywhere actually,” says Miles. “With this going on, I’d rather be here.” But Miles has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, and asthma, which she’s gone to the emergency room multiple times to treat. In a pandemic, it may feel safer, but living outside is dangerous, says Dr. Omar Guzman. “There’s no access to water, no one’s wearing masks,” says Guzman, who is out here today to offer health care to people like Miles. “Even if you wore a mask, if you don’t change it, it just becomes a nexus for infection anyway. They can’t wipe down their encampments.” Guzman is the Director of Undergraduate Medical Education
https://www.kvpr.org/sites/kvpr/files/styles/big_story/public/202007/DianaTrumble-StreetMedicine-20200717.JPG

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