At this unique and fascinating event, Dr. Astrid Heger welcomed a group of Trusteeship members warmly in the brightly painted lobby of the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) at County USC Hospital. The clinic, Astrid’s brainchild and passion, treats 2,000 victims of child and elderly abuse monthly in addition to providing transitional quarters for children under 10 years old who are awaiting placement in foster care. Graciously hosted by Astrid, the afternoon that started in the cheerful lobby took the group down long, dark corridors in the original structure (built in the late 1920s), to an operating room surrounded by a steep bank of observation bleachers (where many scenes of the Ben Casey TV show were filmed), into a vast emergency room still being used for training of military first responders and ER physicians. The historic building, although musty and dusty in many places, still has a grandeur of its own with original marble, inlaid floors and art deco lamps and fixtures. Astrid and staff members made the building come alive with their reminiscences (Astrid received her medical training at County) and anecdotes. During lunch in the former main entrance, the group enjoyed the beautiful ceiling murals and a delicious meal, all the while listening to more stories about these amazing doctors, their dedication and the important place that Los Angeles holds in providing medical care to all, at no charge.
Astrid Heger in the lobby of VIP Clinic