The Flying Doctors Land in the Coachella Valley

The Flying Doctors Land in the Coachella Valley

Max Rodriguez

Jesus Gonzalez has waited about a month to get a pain in his tooth checked-out, he has gone a month with a tooth-ache since he is no longer medically insured.

He attended “The Flying Doctors”, pop-up clinic inside Desert Mirage High School.

“Yes, I had insurance but since I stopped working, I lost it and that’s why I am here,” Gonzalez said. “I need to remove my tooth, it decayed and I have to take it out because the pain is bothering me.”

Local and outside health professionals volunteer though the non-profit organization to treat thousands of patients around the world, including patients in the Coachella Valley.

The Chief Officer of Gov’t & Com. Affairs for Clinicas de Salud Del Pueblo, Claudia Galvez, said this is the 24 year the event takes place in the desert.

Galvez said, “It’s free for the community for those who have no health insurance, or are under insured, they can come here and received services for medical or dental.”

Chiropractic and counseling services were also available.

Congressman Raul Ruiz was one of the doctors, he has volunteered in the event since 2007. He said there have been improvements in medical coverage in the East Valley, but there is still room for growth.

“We have one doctor per 9,000 residents, that number is worst, it is three fold for dentist and mental health specialists,” Ruiz said. “And that’s why the expansion of the Health Care district is so important for everybody in the Coachella Valley.”

He refers to an expansion that voters will decide come November, voters will have the option to expand services by the Desert Healthcare District out to the East Coachella Valley, services that could benefit Gonzalez and his community.

Gonzalez said, “It’s good they have events like this because there’s still a lot of people without insurance, I’m glad they have this.”