PCH mobile clinic helps homeless teens

PCH mobile clinic helps homeless teens

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Most doctors don't have to tie down their medical equipment.  Then again, most doctors offices don't have a steering wheel.

The Crews'n Healthmobile is one of Phoenix Children's Hospital's mobile clinics that offers free medical care to homeless kids and teens.

"Many of them have been abused, neglected..there's lots of substance abuse issues and so we find very quickly that they're very sick," said Dr. Randal Christensen.

Christensen is the medical director for the Crews'n Healthmobile program, which serves ages zero to 24.

He says working inside the healthmobile is a bit like navigating through a submarine.

Every nook and cranny is packed with medical supplies and equipment, allowing doctors to give homeless kids the same care they'd get in a regular doctor's office.

"We have refrigerators for labs and vaccines, we have a place where we can draw blood and spin it down and send it off to the laboratory," said Christensen.

The Crews'n Healthmobile is a 38 foot long motor home that's been converted to a doctor's office on wheels.  It stops at 10 different locations every week, hosting a total of 18 clinics -- all of which are staffed by just three pediatricians from Phoenix Children's Hospital.

In the full size exam room, doctors can do everything from give IV fluids to set and bandage injuries.  Patients leave the clinic with medical supplies they might not be able to afford.

Sometimes something as simple as a bottle of Tylenol or Motrin.

"When we found that we took care of them and treated them and helped them get off the streets, they could just surprise us and go off to school and go off to college and so many wonderful things," said Christensen.

Last year, PCH's Crews'n Healthmobile made 6,500 visits across the valley. But the hospital's outreach efforts don't stop there.

PCH also has a clinic at UMOM, Arizona's largest family shelter. 

With the help of Healthcare for the Homeless, the clinic sees children and adults.

"All of the kids that are here at the shelter can just walk over there. Parents don't have to have a car or anything, they can go directly to our clinic and see the doctors just like they would if they were living somewhere else," said Christensen.

5-year-old Jack left his appointment with a smile on his face.  The kind of reward that drives Dr. Christensen and his team to serve as many valley families as possible.

"Every day we get to walk across campus and kids come up and they give us a hug and their parents tell us they're so thankful for taking care of their children," he said.

You can find out when and where the free clinics are being held or donate to the program by visiting CrewsNHealthmobile.com


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