Rural America has problems finding qualified doctors…besides all the issues of affording their care, having local hospitals and wrangling with insurance companies.
My friend (my quirky friend) Carlos Vega is a doctor in the little mountain village of Temoris along the train line. Temoris is known by tourists because it is the spot where CHEPE (the trian) does a 180 inside a tunnel (La Pera) and then a 180 in this deep Yosemite like valley….and there is a huge waterfall there!
Actually the town of Temoris is 2500 ft above the rail station and very few tours or gringos go there other than mine people. This is a shame because it is a delightful little place and very unique in its setting. There is also a huge scenic walk down to the train that most people never experience. My wife and I hiked it recently on a sunny December morning- wonderful experience!
Any way I met Carlos on the train one day and we have become good friends. There is no financial incentive for him to have a practice there and he lives there in his little clinic away from his family in Los Mochis. Actually he is often not paid or recieves barter for his services. He carries a cell and people drop into the clinic- and stay over of they need to or he finds a ride out to their place.
Barter comes in the form of some kind of food usually- a meal on the spot or more often than not canned fruit. There is a variety of fruits grown in this valley and canning in common. I have ended up back in the US with canned quince and guava as gifts from Carlitos. On his shelf in his clinic/home are bright jars of cherries, peaches, apples, etc.
Here is the deal with Carlos- he sees his role as a servant to the people there. He is not king of the hill for people to fit with his schedule and no one is refused service or is faced with a huge bill. The phone rings and he grabs his fishing tackle box full of instruments and basic meds and heads across town or over the mountain to do some healing.
Tell me what is wrong with this. And tell me how we have gotten to a rigid, costly non human centered system that takes advantage of the middle on lower class more than offers compassionate care. Why does rural Mexico have basic care for the poor but rural America struggles with this?