Volunteers keep Seager Clinic running, helping the homeless and working poor

Sunday , September 15, 2013 - 10:23 PM

Special to the Standard-Examiner

BRIAN NICHOlSON/Special to the Standard-ExaminerDr. Richard White talks with patient Dave Shaddix at the Seager Clinic at the Ogden Rescue Mission.

Jamie Lampros, Standard-Examiner Correspondent

OGDEN — It has been 25 years since Dr. Floyd Seager and his wife, Dauna, opened a free medical clinic for the homeless and working poor in Ogden.

Seager Memorial Clinic, founded on Sept. 16, 1988, opened its doors for business after the couple continually witnessed the plight of the downtrodden at home and across the country.

In 1982, the couple witnessed people sleeping on the sidewalk vents. In 1984 they witnessed a homeless man die alone, unclaimed on the Santa Monica parkway, ironically near the affluent Pacific Palisades.

Then, in 1988, Dr. Seager was driving north on Wall Avenue past the Ogden Rescue Mission, when he noticed the sign: Jesus Saves.

He decided to drop in and discuss the idea of a medical clinic with the mission pastor. His idea was readily accepted. Within hours of opening, the clinic was busy taking care of the medical and dental needs of the working poor and homeless in the Ogden area.

“It’s hard to believe the little clinic that Dr. Floyd Seager started 25 years ago is still going strong,” said clinic coordinator Ruth Brockman. “Unfortunately there are still a lot of people in need of our services.”

The clinic cares for the residents sheltered at the mission home in addition to others in the community with no other options for healthcare, Brockman said. They include the homeless, indigent and working poor.

“Dr. Seager enlisted the support of both Ogden hospitals and started calling physicians, nurses and others to volunteer,” Brockman said. “Over the years the clinic has been located upstairs, downstairs and, while the new rescue mission was being built, it was located in a house next door. The clinic is staffed 100 percent by volunteer physicians, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, chiropractors, receptionists and a social worker.”

During the past 25 years, health care providers have seen everything from diabetes, heart failure, tuberculosis, strokes, and seizures to respiratory infections, cancer and broken bones.

“We had a woman come in with severe carpal tunnel disease. She was working part time at a local hotel as a maid, with no insurance,” Brockman said. “She had two small children. Without the use of her hands and wrist, she could not work and support her children.”

A volunteer nurse arranged for a surgeon and anesthesiologist and paid the co-pay for her to have surgery to fix her carpal tunnel.

“We had a woman come in with second- degree burns on her legs. She states she had lit a fire in her room to stay warm and ended up falling asleep,” Brockman said. “The fire caught her blanket and pants on fire and burned her legs. She refused to go to the hospital, but we continued to see her every clinic day to dress her legs until they were healed.”

Dr. Richard White, an Ogden cardiologist, has been volunteering at the clinic since it opened.

“Dr. Seager called me and asked me to participate in a free clinic for the homeless. I signed on that day,” he said.

White said most of his patients complain of upper respiratory problems, but many of them also have high blood pressure and diabetes.

The clinic has received many accolades including Point No.436 in President George H.W. Bush’s 1,000 Points of Light. The clinic does not receive any government funding and relies strictly on donations.

“The clinic has been blessed to receive a grant from the Sisters of St. Benedict,” Brockman said. “The Sister’s gift is a tribute to their love for this community and the

underserved.”

“Our clinic is so important because these patients have nowhere else to go other than emergency departments, which is a waste of resources for relatively minor conditions that we can easily handle,” White said.

The clinic would like to invite volunteers and donors to its 25th anniversary celebration from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, at 2775 Wall Ave.