Venita Harvey figured she should take advantage of a free health screening while shopping at the Mall of Louisiana on Saturday.
Harvey, of Gonzales, who went to the mall with her cousin, Pamela Taylor, noticed tables set up with medical personnel performing blood pressure and blood sugar tests.
Harvey said she had her blood pressure checked because she was concerned it may be high after her sister died the day after Mother’s Day from a heart aneurysm.
“I wanted to get myself tested out and see if my blood pressure and blood sugar levels were normal — which they’re not,” Harvey said as a medic performed a blood test on her.
Harvey, Taylor and about 125 others went through free health checks at the mall hosted by East Baton Rouge Parish Emergency Medical Services as part of National Emergency Medical Services Week, which officially begins Sunday and ends May 26.
The week is designed primarily to promote safety, health and better living, in addition to recognizing the workers who respond to emergency situations, EMS spokesman Mark Olson said.
“There are people that do work nights, weekends, 24 hours a day, that respond to emergencies, and we just kind of want to give credit to that,” Olson said.
In the past, EMS has performed free screenings during National EMS Week at the State Capitol and community centers around Baton Rouge, Olson said.
This year is the first it’s been done at the mall.
On Saturday, medical personnel asked participants about their medical histories before giving them the screenings, Olson said.
The participants were then tested for blood pressure, pulse, oxygen and cholesterol levels.
Medical personnel would advise participants if their levels were abnormal, Olson said.
EMS joined with Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center personnel in performing the screenings, Olson said.
Linda Beasley, a secretary and administrative assistant with Our Lady of the Lake, said the medical staff members on hand could also advise people without health insurance on how to move forward if they do have health problems.
“For some people who do not have insurance or a health-care provider, this is at least a way to check to see if their blood pressure may be high, if their cholesterol needs to be in check, and possibly if they have diabetes or high blood sugar,” Beasley said.
Harvey said she has health insurance, but she wanted to have the free test because of its convenience.
“It’s not very regular that you can go on a Saturday in the mall and actually be able to get yourself checked out as far as your blood pressure and blood sugar levels,” Harvey said.