Free Diabetes Testing Every Tuesday at South Side Wal-Mart

By Wendell Hutson, on July 23, 2013, reprinted by permission

WEST CHATHAM — Free diabetes testing is available every Tuesday at the West Chatham Wal-Mart, thanks to St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center.

The free testing runs until Labor Day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at The Clinic at Wal-Mart, 8331 S. Stewart Ave., according to Derek Michaels, a spokesman for St. Bernard Hospital and Health Care Center, 326 W. 64th St.

“Faced with an explosion of younger and younger people developing diabetes, with large numbers going undiagnosed, the clinic is appealing to the community to get tested and take action,” Michaels said.

Many of those going undiagnosed are teenagers and young adults, said Danny Rollins, a vice president with St. Bernard.

“Early diagnosis is important to stopping or controlling diabetes,” Rollins said. That’s why St. Bernard “decided to take action to address the numbers of undiagnosed diabetics we have in the African-American and Latino communities.”

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Free Diabetes Testing to Fight for South Siders’ Health

Chicago—To tackle the rampant incidence of diabetes in South Side communities, The Clinic at Walmart is offering free diabetes testing, every Tuesday from now thru Labor Day. Faced with an explosion of younger and younger people developing diabetes, with large numbers going undiagnosed, the Clinic is appealing to the community to get tested and take action. Diabetes can have enormous quality of life consequences for families; they face poor health with possible severe complications, as well as expensive life-long medical treatment.

Danny Rollins, a vice president at St. Bernard Hospital (which operates the Clinic at Walmart) decided that the St. Bernard team had to do something to build awareness and educate their neighbors. “We are seeing teens, young and mature adults come in feeling ill and discovering that they suffer from diabetes.” He said. “Early diagnosis is important to stopping or controlling diabetes.” According to the American Diabetes Association nearly 30% of Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed.

Operating on Chicago’s South Side within largely African American and Mexican American communities The Clinic at Walmart is at the heart of an area heavily affected by diabetes. The American Diabetes Association estimates that 12.6% of African Americans and 13.3% of Mexican Americans over the age of 20 are living with diabetes. While people with undiagnosed diabetes are estimated at 7 million nationwide, the prevalence of prediabetes is estimated to be close to 79 million people. “We have got to do everything we can to test and educate people who are prediabetic,” says Mr. Rollins. “We must alert people at risk so that they can make lifestyle changes now. To accomplish that goal we need people to get tested.”

Mr. Rollins, seeking ways to address this issue, decided to offer complete free diabetes testing once a week to gauge the response. St. Bernard is hopeful that they will garner support and get people to come out and get tested. “Knowledge is a powerful tool in managing your health. We have got to discover ways to reach our community—this is but a start.” says Mr. Rollins.

People interested in free diabetes’ test can walk in to the Clinic at Walmart, 8331 S. Stewart Ave., inside the Walmart Superstore, any Tuesday thru Labor Day. Appointments are not required.

St. Bernard Hospital has been serving the health care needs of Chicago’s South Side for nearly 110 years. The hospital sees thousands of area residents each year, providing services ranging from emergency medicine and obstetrics to mental health and dental services. In keeping with modern demands, St. Bernard is proud to provide state-of-the-art technological capabilities that greatly enhance the hospital’s high quality of care and promote patient safety. To expand services to the community, in 2012 St. Bernard opened The Clinic at Walmart. The Clinic offers easy access to affordable health care seven days a week.

The Clinic at Walmart
8331 S. Stewart
Chicago, IL 60620 
Inside the Walmart Superstore
(773) 420-1234 

St. Bernard Hospital holding blood drive

St. Bernard Hospital will host its annual community blood drive Friday July 19, 2013 from 11a.m. to 5p.m. at the hospital located at 326 West 64th Street in Chicago. The blood drive seeks to tackle a significant lack of donors from the South Side neighborhoods served by the hospital. Now in its 11th year, the blood drive is timely during summer months, when fewer donors give. College and high school students, who constitute 20% of the usual donor pool citywide, are on vacation in summer resulting in decreased donations. Additionally, greater summer travel and activities tend to lead to a greater number of accidents requiring blood transfusions. The blood goes into a general bank that is used by hospitals all over Chicago.

The hospital hopes to have as many people as possible come out to donate. At least 90% of the population will need blood at some time in their lives. The donated blood might be used for surgery, to treat a serious burn or to treat mom and baby after birth. African Americans are the largest number of suffers of sickle cell anemia, the treatment of this condition frequently requires blood transfusions. All of these conditions and procedures require blood supplies.

St. Bernard is seeking to educate neighbors about the safety and ease of donating blood, as well as the importance to the community. We have many families who have never been introduced to blood donation. We want them to know the needles used are always clean and that they cannot be infected by donating blood.

The hospital is asking all members of the community 17 years of age or older who think they are eligible to donate blood to please come out and give. It could easily be a family member, friend or neighbor who ends up receiving your blood to save their life. In order to maintain a vital supply of blood, as many people as possible must give.