As the primary medical support team for political actions of OWS, and also providing medical care at housing locations and wherever occupiers are found (when possible), including being an integral part of jail support operations, we have been working a great deal to keep occupiers healthy and safe while making their voices heard. That being said, we accumulate a number of expenses in the process, and as we no longer have a defined budget as the Medical working group, this proposal is to establish a new budget for us to provide the best care we can.
Our costs are divided among transportation for medics to and from actions and other sites; general medical supplies like bandages, emergency blankets and cough drops; field equipment like packs for our supplies; on-the-go meals for us to stay capable and alert while deployed (we are often in the field for twelve hours at a time or more); supporting a convergence space where medics can operate or dispatch system, rest, resupply, and recharge (most especially those working overnights, which prevents them from sleeping at the occupation housing spaces); administrative expenses like our dispatch phone and photocopies; plus some miscellaneous expenses and a small reserve fund for emergencies.
Our estimated weekly financial need is $1,100, which we do not expect to use in full except when emergencies or other circumstances demand it. The largest of our expenses by a wide margin is transportation. We also seek to reimburse expenditures made by medics toward the occupation (within our budget, of course) so that medics can feel confident that an important purchase can be made on the spot and that it will be accounted for at any later date, because we are often scattered and on different schedules, so coordinating reimbursement has been a challenge.. A complete breakdown of our estimated costs is as follows:
|Item||Description||Estimated Maximum Weekly Expense|
|Medical Consumable Supplies||Wound care, cough drops, vitamins, etc.||$100.00|
|Equipment||Medical bags and tools, organizational containers, etc.||$100.00|
|Convergence Space Expenses||Cleaning supplies, organizational furniture for supplies, bulk foods, etc.||$200.00|
|Administrative Expenses||Dispatch phone bill, photocopies and printed materials, etc.||$50.00|
|Miscellaneous Expenses and Emergency Funds||Patient needs, nutritious food for jail releasees, trainings, medications, emergency patient transport, etc.||$250.00|
In all cases wherever possible, we strive to make our purchases ethically, carefully, and with all reasonable thrift while still providing the best care possible for the occupiers. Wherever practical, our money is spent at small, local businesses that provide the most benefit to our communities.
As our needs change unpredictably, and emergencies occur at inopportune times, this budget is necessary to ensure that we will capably meet whatever challenges emerge in working to keep OWS healthy and safe.
We’ll see you in the streets – and don’t forget to stay hydrated!
– The OWS Medics