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Barbara Burke, Freelance Reporter
3:26 pm PST November 15, 2018

Malibu Urgent Care stayed open for as long as it could. 

Ultimately, it faced fire officials at its door, who told staff members to evacuate from Malibu around 2 p.m. Nov. 9. The urgent care facility was closed until the morning of Monday, Nov. 12.

“With the help of the City Manager, we were escorted back into Malibu on Monday and we opened at 10 a.m.,” said Dr. David Frankle, of Malibu Urgent Care. “Since then, we have been seeing patients with insurance as well as gratis. I would never compound a horrible situation by not seeing people without financial means during this disaster.”

The facility, located at 23656 Pacific Coast Highway, has primarily treated patients with respiratory conditions, including asthma and smoke inhalation, as well injuries attributable to objects flying in victims’ eyes and burns and abrasions, Frankle said. 

“I want to remind people that it is very important for them to get flu shots,” Frankle said. “Remember, last year was the worst flu season in history.”

Dr. Jeff Harris, who also had to evacuate from the city, tirelessly provided medical advice via telephone to his patients. He also treated Malibuites and others who were evacuated to the Red Cross evacuation center at Palisades Charter High School.

“I’ve been treating people who suffered primarily from respiratory conditions,” Harris said. “I have also been helping people who need to refill their prescriptions, whether they have just run out of their prescription and need a refill or have lost their medications in the fire.”

Mental health support

Physical manifestations aside, many affected by the fire need counseling. The Red Cross has hosted evacuees and coordinated volunteer mental health services and spiritual care professionals who provided more than 6,600 contacts to provide support and care to evacuees, according to a Nov. 15 press release.

Los Angeles County also offers mental health support. Impacted residents can call the county’s 24/7 Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990, or they can text “TalkWithUs” to 66746 for mental health support and resources.

Roots & Wings plans to coordinate efforts that will involve therapists, acupuncturists, massage therapists, yoga classes and more to anyone affected by the fires. Session dates were not available as of press time.

Dr. Rhonda Jessum also is offering free, individual crisis counseling for residents of Malibu and surrounding communities at 21217 Pacific Coast Highway. Contact Jessum at (424) 330-0088