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Doctors, interns volunteer with Florida Cares to build landing ramp for Havana woman

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 18:19:57-04

HAVANA, Fla. (WTXL) — Medical interns are trading their stethoscopes for hammers and nails to give a Florida woman a sense of freedom in her own home.

While many people are starting the holiday weekend early, a few future doctors have all hands on deck working to make a difference in the community.

Six new interns spent their day off building teamwork and a new landing ramp for Gale Jones.

The home Jones shares with her daughter and grandchildren is outdated, unsafe for someone with mobility challenges.

"We removed the cinder block steps, which were atrocious, and we built a, what we call, an accessibility door landing," said Eric Evans, the on-site project leader for Florida Cares. "It's five feet wide and it comes out about four feet."

The wider landing and shorter steps make it easier for people with limited mobility to move in and out of their homes.

The program director at Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program, Dr. Joe Mazziati, says building the ramp for someone who could possibly be one of their patients offers interns a unique perspective.

"I think it's all about the perspective, to see how people live and where they live, and you know these are the people we are going to be taken care of," said Dr. Mazziati. "So it's one thing seeing them in a nice clean sterile environment of the hospital or the office but it's another thing, you know, seeing them, some of the challenges that they have."

Evans says it's a perfect and productive way to spend the holiday.

"Today is unique because the doctors are committed and our front line defense of helping the nation and our community dealing with this world crisis," Evans said. "They also are eager to give back to the community In other ways. And today, every one of them came out on their day off to give back to this family so that they could have better accessibility and, to me, that's what the spirit of America is and why we need to celebrate the Fourth of July."

Jones and her family couldn't be at home as the doctors built the landing, having to make a hospital visit instead, which means doctors are taking care of her both there and at her home.