San Bernardino Tzu Chi Medical Clinic Treats the Uninsured and Underserved

TIMA  |  January 28, 2023
Every free clinic involves mass loading, transportation and unloading. The workload is enormous. Photo/Guoxing Yan

Edited by: Andrea Barkley

On December 11, 2022, at 7:00 am, Tzu Chi USA volunteers arrived at Indian Springs High School in San Bernardino, California. They gathered to set up a medical clinic site. The opening ceremony began at 8:30 am after showing the video “The Story of Master Cheng Yen.” Inland Area volunteer team leader Tzu Shi Chang and Tzu Chi Young Leaders volunteer Hua Hsuan Jian hosted the ceremony.

The Warmth of the Compassion in the Cold Wind and Rain

It was raining heavily, and the weather was freezingly cold throughout the area, but the Tzu Chi volunteers still arrived early for the fourth free clinic of 2022. Students from the University of California, Riverside, and a group of translators also arrived early. Everyone set up the venue in an orderly manner. The Chinese medicine unit increased from the previous four beds to eight beds while the usual strong dental lineup was present. Internal medicine and ophthalmology of the Western medicine team also worked non-stop.

Tzu Chi USA Headquarters CEO Debra Boudreaux said in the opening ceremony, “Tzu Chi’s free clinic is care in physical form, with a lineup of professional physicians coming into the community to participate in the free clinic. This was such a blessing that everyone came together and participated. Thanks again to everyone!”

The free clinic site had four departments: ophthalmology, dentistry, western internal medicine, and Chinese medicine. Dr. Rong Yuan Ji, in the Chinese medicine department, had a kind and friendly smile that relieved patients’ pain. When he saw volunteers, he knew he would greet them kindly and enthusiastically, “Do you feel any discomfort? Come here. Let me take a look!” Volunteers, not just patients, needed to be in good health. Whenever he wasn’t busy with a patient, Dr. Rong Yuan Ji would take advantage of his free time to treat them.

Patients Praised the Miraculous Effect of Acupuncture

Fa Xiao, a care recipient, said, “I came here today because I was referred to Dr. Ji (an acupuncturist) by a friend. The first thing Dr. Ji asked me when he saw me was, ‘Have you ever had acupuncture?’ I said no. He was afraid I might be nervous, so he patiently explained how it would feel, and I was relieved and not nervous. Then he gave me massage and acupuncture. It was amazing. After doing these, my right shoulder relaxed, and it didn’t hurt to touch it. Before, it was painful to touch. I’ll definitely come for the next free clinic.”

Li Ping Wang, a care recipient, said, “When I came to the U.S., I didn’t have anything, and I needed medical care, like dental care and eye care, so I’m grateful to Tzu Chi.” It’s been more than ten years since her family of three, a disadvantaged family in need of help, came together to attend the free clinic.

Jing Si Flower Arrangements Brought Warmth and Cheer

Shufang Du (right), the teacher of the Jing Si flower arrangement, made friends with flowers. Photo/Guoxing Yan
Tzu Chi youth volunteers, who helped set up the clinic site and participated in the service at each department, took a group photo with their parents. Photo/ Guoxing Yan

Shufang Du, a Jing Si flower arrangement teacher, showed flower arrangements to awaiting patients in hopes of comforting them. The day’s Jing Si Aphorism quote was, “The most beautiful thing in the sky is the stars. The most beautiful thing among people is warmth.”  Shufang Du brought these Jing Si quotes to everyone. Carnation petals represent love, and the love of Tzu Chi volunteers is all over the world.

Peiyu Gan, the mother of a Tzu Chi youth volunteer, led ten Tzu Chi youth volunteers. They helped set up the site, served at each department, and held flyers to introduce the spirit of Tzu Chi.

Tzu Chi Medical Foundation Executive Director Dr. Stephen Denq said, “I started to participate in the free clinic service in 1999, and every time there is a chance, I’ll take it. Our mission is to grow in experience, and that’s what we do today.”

The clinic ended successfully at 3:00 pm. A total of 54 care recipients registered for the clinic on the day. In all, 127 medical staff and volunteers served 281 cases. Helping people in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and meeting medical needs, each volunteer slowly planted the seeds of goodness in everyone’s hearts. One by one, they make this world a better place through charity.

The volunteers were responsible for their own duties, making the free clinic smooth and successful. Photo/Guoxing Yan

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