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Hundreds line up at L.A. Sports Arena for first day of free health clinic

April 27, 2010 |  7:14 am

About 250 people lined up outside the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena overnight for the first day of a free health clinic sponsored by Tennessee-based Remote Area Medical.

The seven-day clinic runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Patients with numbered, color-coded orange wristbands will be served in order. Those without wristbands can return at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

Gilbert Ortega, 53, an unemployed machinist, joined the line Tuesday morning after waiting seven hours Sunday for a wristband. He said he needs reading glasses and to get his teeth fixed.

"It's worth it if I'm going to get this done and not have to pay for it," Ortega said as he stood waiting for the clinic to open.

Dozens showed up without wristbands and were told to return Wednesday.

Shaunte Davis, 43, an unemployed day care worker from Los Angeles, heard about the clinic Sunday, arrived Tuesday looking for a wristband and left vowing to return Wednesday at 6 a.m.

"It's confusing," she said.

But Mark Nobel, 52, of Twentynine Palms said he knew to line up Sunday. His wristband was number 19, making him among the first allowed in at 6 a.m.

"It's great because I tried to get in last year and couldn't," he said of the last free clinic at the arena in August.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske at the L.A. Memorial Sports Arena

Click for complete Times coverage of the free clinic

Photo: Dick Stoops, with the Remote Area Medical team, directs patients into the LA Sports Arena for medical and dental treatment Tuesday morning. Credit: Rick Loomis  / Los Angeles Times