South LA community clinic flooded, equipment damaged after recent storm

A South Los Angeles clinic, critical to the community it serves, is asking the public for help after it suffered more than half-a-million-dollars' worth of damage from the recent winter storms. 

Over the weekend, part of the roof of the Universal Community Health Center's O'Neill Clinic collapsed due to the weight of the damage from the rain. As that happened, a beam fell and broke the sprinkler system, putting the clinic in about six inches of water.

Due to the damage, the clinic is currently operating at a quarter capacity. 

"We're trying to scramble to keep this clinic open. We're actually a safety net clinic, which means that we see a lot of patients that don't have insurance. Patients who don't have legal immigration status. So we're a vital clinic for the community. And so not being there, it's a big problem," said Dr. Edgar Travis, CEO at Universal Community Health Center.

Brand-new equipment installed in November when the clinic first opened, including ultrasound machines and computers, were damaged. The clinic is proud to be a one spot facility offering everything from family care, to dental and mental services.

Right now the center is trying to see patients at the other nearby UCHC clinics and help accommodate through telemedicine in order not to lose services, but only that can do so much.

"At the end of the day, patients want to come into our clinic," Dr. Travis said. 

He added that equipment for a new dental suite at the clinic was supposed to be installed today, but because of the flooding that won't happen.

"This was our crown jewel of a clinic that we put into that we basically created for the community. And we had lots of plans to make this an urgent care center so that more people have access that night to come and get health care. Our mission is to provide quality care to the underserved community. And there's not many clinics like us around the area, and we really feel sad that we're going to have to cut our services temporarily until we can get it fixed."

A GoFundMe has been created to help assist with repairs to the clinic. 

Universal Community Health Center's O'Neill Clinic is located at 1919 South San Pedro Street in South Los Angeles.