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tv   Nightline  ABC  December 25, 2013 12:35am-1:06am PST

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♪ ♪ a little bit of you little bit of me what you wanna do what's it gonna be ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ a little bit of you a little bit of me what you wanna do what's it gonna be ♪ ♪ we can get wild we can live free or you can shake it for me baby like a tambourine ♪ ♪ a slice of watermelon and you spit the seed sweat on your back stickin' to the seat ♪ ♪ we can sneak off to beat the heat i'll be buzzin on you honey like a bumble bee ♪ ♪ yeah it's a southern summer
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whiskey's in the air dogs on the burner ♪ ♪ beer's ice cold got a pretty little lady to hold oh-oh-oh ♪ ♪ it's a southern summer that sun's shinin' down like daddy's silver dollar ♪ ♪ gotta hop on the old dirt road to the days of gold ♪ ♪ ♪ hey hey hey ♪ hey hey hey ♪ [ cheers and applause ]
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♪ tonight on "nightline," expedition of hope. 72 hours, 2500 needy people lining up at dawn for urgently needed medical care as volunteers scramble to supply over $2 million worth of health care for free. what happens when the demand has no end in sight? robert ellis walks 15 miles through the night to have his teeth and ears fixed but doctors notice there's something more. >> pain in your chest? >> is he just in time for saving grace? >> we're in coal country where jobs and money are scarce. it's just one of many parts of this country where remote area medical can be a life saver.
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>> i can change like that. >> this special edition of "nightline," off the map,
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this is a special edition of "nightline." "off the map, expedition of hope." >> thanks for joining us. i'm juju chang. we celebrate the gift of healing in a remote part of rural virginia, people come from all around for a free clinic providing medical aid they couldn't otherwise afford. in a coal mining economy hit hard, many have to swallow their pride as they line up for basic care, young women and men. bob woodruff has another look at our series. >> reporter: it's 5:00 a.m.
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nearly 1500 people have been lining up for the past 24 hours in the parking lot of the wise county fairgrounds in southwest virginia. >> show us your number. >> reporter: they aren't here for a summertime affair. what are you doing here? >> i come to get new dentures. >> i have issues. i have a hole in my knee. >> i had problems with my lungs. i'm trying to see a specialist. >> reporter: this is remote area medical. a traveling health clinic known as brown. and this is stan brock. >> we're heading for the gates to let people in. >> reporter: for the next three days brock and a team of volunteers will turn this fairground that a makeshift hospital providing medical care to more than 2500 people. >> people are showing up. >> reporter: and "nightline" was invited along to watch. >> it's always an amazing sight, isn't it that here in america at 5:00 in the morning with rain threatening there's 1500 people out there.
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>> reporter: towards the front of the line the horani family is waiting. the early hours trying the dwaynes' patience. this is the second year they've come. as a family, what are youing looking for, dental, vision. >> both. >> reporter: they don't have -- >> they have but what they have isn't enough. we bring them here we they -- >> reporter: brian and heather get their teeth looked at. >> cavities that need to be -- >> reporter: for their teenage daughters their eyes. >> i need glasses. >> reporter: what's your ticket number? >> we're 101 to 110. >> reporter: the lowest numbers get in first, those with the highest numbers could wait for days. you're one of the first in. good job. ♪ >> reporter: farther back in line, the ramos family has spent the long night in a car. how are your eyes? >> i want to make sure they're
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okay. i have to lean down or when i go to pick the book up i have to put it right here. >> reporter: why are you coming here instead of an eye doctor or -- >> work is really hard and money is real tight. this is free and the last three years i passed it up because i'm kind of prideful but this year i was compelled to come. >> reporter: what's your number? >> well -- >> 1132. >> reporter: 1132. >> reporter: probably sometime later in the day you'll get care. they will have to wait a while. just before sunrise the wise virginia graham clinic officially begins. >> who's got number 1. >> reporter: within 30 minutes the horani family passes through the gate. >> we have to go through the triage. >> reporter: their vital signs
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are checked. blood pressure and blood sugar too. and then the family disperses, brian and heather to get their teeth worked on. >> you're doing cleaning. you hang on good. >> reporter: the twin boy, jaden and hayden go to get dental x-rays. >> now, bud. here you go. >> reporter: and then a cleaning. >> let me see your teeth. >> reporter: both twins get a clean bill of dental health. >> yeah. you did super. very good. >> reporter: by early afternoon jordan is able to get in to see the eye doctor. >> better one orb -- >> reporter: a change in her prescription means a trip to the eyeglass tent. >> okay. >> no. >> reporter: and successful search for a pair of frames. >> okay. >> okay. >> reporter: over in the optical lab tom and judy dandridge oversee an assembly line for grinding lenses helping people see clearly sometimes for the
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very first time in year. >> that's what keeps you going. you get frustrated. aggravated because you want to change it and you can't change it so you just do your best and, you know, you thank god that he put you here to do what you do -- >> you've got 40 or 50 million people that are in this category that don't have insurance and can't get the care that they need or can't afford it. >> reporter: teresa gardner was born here, still lives here. 14 years ago she invited graham to hold a clinic here and sadly it just keeps growing every year. >> there are people out there in wheelchairs waiting to get in. they slept in that field overnight in their cars. >> yeah, right. >> reporter: that's pretty remarkable. >> we actually see them lining up days in advance for this event. we sure did and it's just incredible the desperation they need for health care in the country because health care is so expensive. >> reporter: does that anger you? >> i don't knowment i don't have time much to get angry.
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>> reporter: graham couldn't pull this off without the 1400 volunteers who donate their time, expertise and compassion. people like anna rollinss who a been coming here suns she was 8. how did you start being involved in this? >> i just started doing some work and eventually moved up to be an assistant and now i'm looking to go to hygiene school. >> reporter: all of this influenced what you'll do for your career. >> yes. >> reporter: remember the gentleman hoping to get dentures. after 24 hours of waiting. do you recognize yourself in that mirror? >> no. >> reporter: he had volunteer dentist scott miller to thank. >> i mean it's the only thing i can do that i can change somebody's life like that. you're great. it's rewarding. it's what brings me back every year. >> reporter: i even run into a navy nurse working at the bethesda naval hospital seven years ago when i was there recovering from injuries sustained from an ied in iraq.
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>> the guys -- >> reporter: nobody guys that are better than you. by the end of the first day some 1200 patients had been seen. how was today? >> it went really well. they give a lot of encouragement on what i can do next for mine. >> reporter: jordan has picked up her new classes. her twin brothers, teeth cleaned quit scabling. how are your teeth? let me see them. ouch. they look pretty good. better than last time. >> we weren't expecting anything. ears and health and stuff like that. >> we'll definitely be back every year. >> reporter: but even with all the volunteers, dental chairs answer good intentions as the day winds down not everyone has been seen. >> you're going, folks. >> reporter: which means the next day begins with people like the ramochlth s family coming
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back for a second day. >> only thing we got done standing in line, paperwork done and got our bands. >> reporter: and hundreds of new people arrive including one man who walked through the night to reach the clinic. >> i need my teeth fixed. they're really bad and my hearing. i don't know which one is worse. >> reporter: when robert ellis goes through triage. >> he said he had pain in his chest when walking up here this morning. >> reporter: something potentially more serious is uncovered. >> shortness of breath involved? >> reporter: when we come back, we follow ellis to see the heart doctor as hundreds more continue to wait for treatment. it's day two at remote area medical.
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♪ in an out of the way part of rural virginia an annual three-day event brings people from far and wide for free medical care they need. it's a completely volunteer operation of people who treat thousands in need and sadly, the demand is growing every year. here again abc's bob woodruff. >> reporter: wise, virginia, is a coal mining county far from any major airport, stan brock flew in from knoxville where ram is based. ham has done over 700 expedition as brock calls the clinics since 1985. this idea came to him when he was injured on a cattle ranch in the amazon, 26 days on foot from the nearest doctor to help ot r
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others he brought medical tees to other undeveloped countries like india, haiti. >> good morning. >> reporter: but what brock quickly learned was that there was desperation in the u.s., as well, especially in places likewise where jobs have disappeared and few doctors hang their shingles. >> sort of one-time opportunity that they know they can afford to get the care that they need. >> reporter: the wise clinic is one of the largest that they do here in the united states, serving some 2500 people. and on the second morning, hundreds again line up in the predawn darkness for a chance to see a doctor. >> so the first thing we're going to do is bring in the people left over and waiting here for what, some of them 24 hours or more. >> you're going, folks. >> reporter: among the hundreds streaming in the ramoses who is waited more than 24 hours. >> only thing we got done was standing in line, paperwork done and we got our bands.
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>> reporter: but suddenly this man has moved to the front of the line. robert ellis has walked 15 miles through the night walking stick in hand to get here. >> i had a ride but i didn't have enough gas to put in my truck so i told the old lady i'd just walk. >> reporter: even though his son returned the day before from afghanistan ellis knew he had to come to wise. >> i need my teeth fix. they're bad and my hearing -- i don't know which is worse. >> reporter: his visit to triage uncovers something else. >> you said you had some pain in his chest charge he was walking up here this morning. do you have it right now? >> no, i don't have it right now. >> shortness of breath involved? >> yes, sir. >> nausea and vomiting. >> reporter: dental and hearing will have to wait as he's taken to cardiology. >> often it's starting to come more often. >> reporter: the clinic offers specialty areas including cardiology, dermatology,
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orthopedics even mobile x-ray units and denture labs. people, we'll see here never get teeth if we don't give them to them. 80 chairs up and running, 16 eye examination stations and two optical labs grinding 600 pairs of glasses a day. >> about 10,000 lenses on here. >> reporter: manning it all are those volunteers. whose ranks have grown by one as virginia senator tim kaine slips into registration to do his part. >> emergency contact. >> reporter: by brock's estimation kaine is one of only a dozen politicians here. >> this is the most powerful nation on earth. >> reporter: by the afternoon ellis is getting his eyes checked. >> i can read "a." ircan tell what -- >> reporter: pretty much everything else. >> thank you.
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thanks. my blood pressure medicine and i had my hearing checked. i'm going to need hearing aids. they fit molds in both my ears. i kneed that and after i get done with this i'm going to have my teeth pulled. i didn't think i'd get this much done today. i really didn't. >> reporter: on sunday morning the third and final day the crowd is much smaller. >> it's a short day and so we're bringing in really just an extra hundred people in vision and an extra hundred people in dental and that should just about do it for the morning. >> reporter: the very last of the dental patients continue to be worked on. this equipment is packed up and the heavens open. >> we don't need to be doing this in the other countries. i would rather be back in haiti and india and africa and where this organization began in the amazon than doing it here in the world's richest country but i don't see this ending they time soon. >> reporter: the numbers from
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the weekend support the claim. some 1200 dental patients have been seen, 4,000 teeth pulled. 900 pairs of glasses provided. in total over $2 million worth of health care provided all free of charge. >> doesn't matter where you go in the united states you'll find these huge numbers of people that either don't have access to care because it's an underserved area or in most cases they simply can't afford to go to the dentition. they can't afford to go to the eye doctor. and so they're going to be relying on the kind of services that we provide. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm bob woodruff, in wise, virginia. >> the remeet area medical team continues its work this season and recently traveled to the philippines to help victims of the of the devastating typhoon. our thanks to bob for that report. to find out more visit our website at abcnews.com/nightline.
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and finally tonight, 'tis the night before christmas and the reindeer are on the move but they're not the only ones stirring. in facts, there are more than 9 million species on the planet and just staying alive takes brains as well as braun with the never before seen look at the survival extinct, here's cynthia mcfadden. >> reporter: for the nearly 9 million species that live on planet earth the daily struggle to exist requires ingenuity, creativity and resourcefulness using stunning footage from 10,000 hours of material nat geo wild takes them for a look at the animal kingdom. >> every animal has that same path. they're born, try to survive, they pass on their genes and then they die. it's much more complex than that. >> reporter: unexpected and surprising animal relationships abound like the work of this
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strawberry poison frog that individually carries its thinkly hatched tadpoles up trees to pools of water. ♪ and then returns every few days to feed the tadpole until it grows into a frog. >> if that isn't a picture painted of a mother caring for her child i don't know what it is and it is a frog. >> reporter: these grass cutter ants can't eat it so they chop the grass, carry it to their home where they feed it to a fungus they can eat and built in ventilation to get rid of excess carbon dioxide. >> being resourceful they'd be gone. >> reporter: some animals are freaks of nature. but survivors nonetheless. the predator plant, the venus ply trap, the chameleon with its tongue like a missile.
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the stag beetle that uses its jaws to fight and other animals that survive and thrive in more creative ways such as these birds in oregon who perform a dance tore their true love. and this lizard in belize appears to walk on water when it runs. >> this film certainly paints a picture of nature on the inside. we all know that nature is on the outside but if we open up our own hearts and mights and find that beauty on the inside i think that we will fall in love with the animals in a different way and we need to because we are all attached. we all need each other. >> reporter: learning more about each other to learn how much we all need each other. i'm cynthia mcfadden for

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