Witnessing the dark side of American health care

SILVER SPRINGS, NEVADA – Published as a webdok on DR.

I spent three days in Silver Springs, Nevada, talking to a tiny part of the millions of Americans who cannot afford to get their infected teeth pulled out, see a gynaecologist or buy a pair of glasses so they can read the letters in a newspaper. They were in town because Remote Area Medical (RAM) was in town.

This was my attempt to tell the story about the broken health care system in the United States. Of all the features on the Danish Broadcasting Corporation’s website during the presidential election 2016, this was the one that most people read.

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The picture above shows the back of a grandmother getting her eyes checked in a high school locker room. Behind the lockers are her daughter, granddaughter and a bunch of other people in need of glasses. At the same time on the basketball court, other people got their teeth extracted, blood pressure measured and x-rays taken.

The patients were old, young, skinny, overweight, smiling, crying, silent, laughing, white, dark-skinned, Hispanic and very humble: for three days everybody in town could get free health care.

I went to several of Remote Area Medical’s clinics. On this picture Kathleen Keys gets several teeth removed – after waiting for the clinic for three years. The featured picture in this article is taken from a clinic in Knoxville, TN, where I went in 2017. Here I also met the founder of RAM, Stan Brock (below). Sadly, Stan died in 2018. What a hero.

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