A medical team from the Inland Northwest set out for North Dakota on Monday in a mobile clinic to help the refugees of the Red River.
The four employees of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center expect to treat a lot of viral and bacterial infections. They will be examining the sick and injured, taking blood samples and handing out antibiotics to the thousands of people living in shelters.
“That’s what they plan on doing, but you never really know what to expect in a situation like this,” said Ron Porzio, associate director of the Spokane center.
The driver, nurse, nurse-practitioner and counselor usually spend their days treating veterans who live in remote corners of the Northwest. The $800,000 clinic - a remodeled passenger bus - is one of five nationwide owned by Veteran’s Affairs.
The clinic and its staff were called into service by the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The bus features two exam rooms, basic lab equipment and computers that can be wired via phone lines to other hospitals and medical systems. Physicians from the Grand Forks area will assist the team.
Its first stop will be the Grand Forks Air Base, where 3,000 people are living in airplane hangars, Porzio said.
“The lack of potable drinking water will be the main source of illness,” Porzio said. “Then, if the floods damage the sewage systems, there will be further spread of illness.”
, DataTimes MEMO: A Spokesman-Review reporter and photographer are accompanying the VA team to Grand Forks. If you or your family has been affected by the flood, please call us at 459-5403.
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