Toxic Tour Blog: Inside West Oakland’s ‘Breathmobile’

As I’ve been reporting over the last few weeks I’ve repeatedly heard residents express their frustration at how hard it was to see a qualified doctor. Many people I spoke with were working 2 and 3 jobs to support their families and taking time off for doctor’s visits usually just wasn’t an option. The goal of the Breathmobile is to take the hospital to the people, instead of the other way around. Beginning in July, the clinic will be traveling to area events to provide on the spot diagnoses and assistance.

But while providing quality care is one issue Dr. Burns and Mary Frazier, the Breathmobile’s RN, brought up another important point. Even if the resources are there, the people have to value and use them or they still won’t work.

Ms. Frazier talked about a series of informal surveys they conducted with various Prescott Joseph clients. When asked their most pressing concerns, most people listed lack of money and quality jobs as the main issue. After this was violence followed by a list of other concerns. Even with the abnormally high level of documented cases, asthma and breathing related illnesses ranked somewhere between 5-7th with most people. These estimates were echoed by the chairwoman of West Oakland Acorn Shirley Burnell, who we mentioned in the initial Newsdesk story. Ms. Burnell and her team asked similar questions and nearly identical answers.

How do you help people who, for whatever reason, aren’t inclined to receive the help?

As much as this story is focusing on the immediate dangers posed by the Port of Oakland and the diesel particulates produced by the trucks, it’s clear that there’s a much bigger and more complicated issue at hand. More soon.

Editor’s Note: More information about the Breathmobile and how you can get involved can be found here.

Photo Courtesy of Breathmobile of Northern California.

1 thought on “Toxic Tour Blog: Inside West Oakland’s ‘Breathmobile’”

  1. I’m still amazed by how far behind we are in applying renewable energy to meet our demands. With tax credits and rebates(especially in southern areas of the country), We’re practically getting begged to wake up and act. I just installed a solar hot water heater in my mom’s home. She’ll be saving close to 85% on her heating bill.

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