MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The East Lake Clinic in south Minneapolis remains boarded up due to damage from the riots, but the people who work there are not gone and the patients are definitely not forgotten.
The clinic is now temporarily operating out of a bus parked in the parking lot, so patients can reconnect with medical staff.
“It is nice to be back and I think it gives people a lot of hope, ya know?” said Dr. Ndidiamaka Koka, the medical director of the East Lake Clinic. “They can see familiar faces and people that have been through other things in their lives.”
Dr. Koka says the patients coming in to her bus need comfort. They need to know they’ll be okay or sometimes need help as so much chaos has taken its toll. High blood pressure, sleep problems are just some of the issues.
“I think this is a very stressful, emotionally stressful and can be physically stressful,” said Dr. Koka. “People will sleep differently and not eat the way they’re supposed to.”
In addition to clinic services, Hennepin Healthcare is also offering free essentials like food and diapers. The effort to get essentials to patients has been underway for some time, the group has been doing outreach to the immediate area ever since the neighborhood clinic went down.
“Our community health worker that we have calls them and asks how they’re doing,” said Ryan Erdmier, the Hennepin Healthcare clinic manager. “They do a check-in to see on their wellness and then we go ahead and deliver what they need based on the conversation that we have to their home.”
Back to the bus, Dr. Koka invites her patients to come see her. She and the others are ready to reconnect.
“To be able to go to a place where you know people, we were small enough where most people would come and they would know everybody,” she said.
Hennepin Healthcare will be set up in the parking lot on Tuesdays and Thursdays for about four hours until the building reopens.