Mission Viejo doctor is hometown hero to people in Central America
Helping others has always been a passion for Mission Viejo’s own, Dr. Ronald Richmond. The Monarch HealthCare doctor is part of a group called “Hope worldwide”, an international charity that has been changing lives in poor regions of the less developed world for decades.
These days, Dr. Richmond is getting ready for yet another volunteer trip. This time he and a group of medical workers just got back from a trip to Guatemala. It was his fourth trip to this part of the world. “Volunteer work was always a way for me to give back and to see other parts of the world,” says Dr. Richmond who is deeply touched by the personal stories he can share from his travels.
“Last time I was part of a medical brigade, I met a man who had been walking on the streets of El Salvador with a chronic infection on his leg. He walked in off the street to the HOPE worldwide clinic for help. With my 17 year old son Andrew there to help clean and dress the wound, we were able to help. We gave him a month’s worth of antibiotics, which was all he needed to get his leg to heal. He was very appreciative, and that was just a great moment,” says the Mission Viejo doctor.
“It’s those kind of stories that make the travel and personal expenses worth the trip. It’s very encouraging to the people to be able to have medical professionals from America come in and help those in need,” says Dr. Richmond who often times is accompanied by his wife and his two children. “It’s a family affair, no question,” says Richmond.
Dr. Richmond has been to Guatemala twice, once to Nicaragua and once to El Salvador. “We go into the community and organize it through one of the churches which is able to bring in a lot of patients from the community. In Guatemala, they actually have a school in one of the poorer neighborhoods. We're able to take care of both the kids and all of their families and provide medical care,” explains Dr. Richmond.
The Mission Viejo doctor continues: “Usually there's five or six doctors, maybe a dentist as well as other volunteers from all walks of life. The medical volunteers bring in medications and set up a pharmacy so patients can get the medicines they need for high blood pressure or diabetes for the next six months. Everyone works together to see the patients, teach them how to brush their teeth, give them a toothbrush, toothpaste, give them vitamins for the next six months.”
The journey to the South is no easy trek. On his last trip, he saw “over 700 patients and probably 100 patients were seen by the dentist. So it was a busy two and a half days of clinic”, the doctor admits. Dr. Richmond never quite feels that his work is done, and looks forward to going on his upcoming medical brigade to El Salvador in November 2015.
Ronald Richmond, M.D., a family medicine doctor and member of
Monarch HealthCare medical group, has been practicing locally
since 1997. He finished his medical training in 1991 and is an alumni
of Duke University and North Carolina Medical School.