Street Medicine Teams Give Homeless People Lifesaving IV Hydration

( – A new program by the nonprofit Circle the City has been bringing intravenous saline solutions to homeless people who are suffering in the extreme heat.

Alfred Handley is one homeless person who was helped by the street medicine team, which helped him get rehydrated by an IV solution drip bag hanging on a pole. Said Handley, “It’s a lot better than going to the hospital.”

Handley was struck by a car, which left him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. He said that he’d been treated badly by those in the clinic and hospitals, so getting help on the street was surprising for him.

Circle the City started with their IV drip rehydration program as a way to protect homeless people who are in the heat, from life threatening heat illnesses.

In fact, homeless people accounted for nearly half of the recorded heat-related deaths last year. Dr. Liz Frye, vice chair of the Street Medicine Institute, said that she doesn’t know of any other groups that do the work that this nonprofit does. Said Frye, “But if that’s what needs to happen to keep somebody from dying, I’m all about it.”

“It’s certainly something to worry about,” the street team’s medical director, Dr. Dave Munson, said. He continued, “Homeless people are vulnerable to very hot and very cold weather not only because they live outside, but they often can’t regulate their body temperature due to medication for mental illness or high blood pressure, or because of street substance use.”

“We go out every day and find them,” said Perla Puebla, a nurse practitioner who works with Circle the City. Puebla continued, “We do their wound care, medication refills for diabetes, antibiotics, high blood pressure.”

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