Pocatello Free Clinic in need of medical volunteers

POSTED: 10:09 PM MST Feb 21, 2013 

The Pocatello Free Clinic is facing a problem that has people waiting months for medical help.

The clinic has the necessary supplies and needed equipment to help people, but what's keeping the clinic from helping more people is a lack of medical professionals.

The clinic says there's been a significant decrease in the number of health care providers volunteering.

Each month hundreds of people contact the free clinic for medical help.

"They are coming to us because they do have financial difficulties. And sometimes the other option is just waiting until they have to go to the emergency room,” Pocatello Free Clinic Board Chair Stephen Hurley said.

This month the clinic is running it's 'Be a Hero, Volunteer' program.

Reminding local health care professionals of just how much their help is needed.

In particular, the clinic says there is a huge demand for dental help but not nearly enough volunteers to fill it.

"There's a really large group. We have to turn away people constantly because are waiting list is so long."

One of those dentists volunteering now is Thomas Call, D.D.S.

He said, those people forced to wait months to see a dentist are risking more than tooth pain.

"It's potentially life threatening, depending on if it's an absess or something like that. It's a significant health risk. Not only for the teeth but for the person themselves,” Call said.

Call said health jobs can be especially taxing and volunteering can help health professionals remember why they do what they do.

"The best way of dodging burnout is giving back to somewhere in a humanitarian experience,” Call said.

The Pocatello Free Clinic is open 3 – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

If you're a health care provider who'd like to help, or someone who needs to set up an appointment, you can call the free clinic at 233-6245.