At the Clinica del Pueblo (the People's Clinic) in NorthwestWashington, the telephone rings every few seconds, but thereceptionist tells callers in Spanish that no appointments areavailable for six weeks. Patients have to climb three flights to getto the clinic, where nurses and volunteer medical students examinethem in closet-sized cubicles among stacks of files and shelves ofmedicine.
'We are open six days a week, 12 hours a day, and we use upevery available space,' said Andrew Schamess, the private, nonprofitclinic's only full-time physician. 'But we have to turn away farmore people than we can see, often with serious problems. It breaksyour heart every time.'