Miguel Romero was 1,500 miles away from home when he got sick.
About a year ago he started getting dizzy and felt like he couldn’t get enough air into his lungs. A doctor diagnosed him with high blood pressure.
Romero, 60, is a groomer at a local horse farm. He lives on his employer’s property with his son and two brothers. His wife is still in Mexico. When his doctor retired Romero had no one to write prescriptions for his medicine or monitor his health.
“I don’t go to the hospital because I don’t have health insurance,” he said through a translator. “And I don’t have the time to see a doctor during the day because I work during the day.”
If not for the free clinic, Romero said he would be hard pressed to get medical help.
He has not been back to see his family in Mexico in eight years. He hasn’t told his wife about his blood pressure so as not to worry her.
Romero is not unique. He is one among hundreds of mostly immigrant farm or construction laborers without health insurance who come each third Wednesday of the month to La Guadalupana Clinic. The clinic is held in the Misíon Católica La Guadalupana church at 11153 West Highway 40.
A makeshift office in the back of the church serves as an office and examination room. So does a corner near the church’s alter.
The clinic is a loose group of three volunteer doctors and a dozen nurses. They volunteer in shifts and the clinic usually ends up with two doctors and a few nurses on duty once a month. They are family doctors and begin seeing patients about 5 p.m. and stay until about 8 p.m. or when the last patient is treated.
The neighborhood is often referred to as Little Mexico.
The organization was founded in 2004 by The Rev. Alfonso Cely, the priest of the church at the time, and Dr. Gabriel Umana.
The organization is hoping to expand across the street and place two modular buildings there. One building would be for dental services and the other for…