Tribute to Dr. David Rodriguez

A wall at the Boulder Community Hospital commemorates the Mission to Mante and Dr. David Rodriguez’s legacy.

by Darryl J. Brown, Boulder Community Health

It is with deep sadness that I relay the passing of Dr. David Rodriguez the founder of the Mante Medical Mission which BCH participated in for many years.  David passed away February 12, 2021 and was a friend to the people of Boulder and in particular those many from Boulder Community Health who served on the annual medical missions.  

“Dr. David”, as he was known by many from BCH, became an admired and appreciated person for other contributions he made in Mexico.  He had a free medical clinic, was instrumental in starting a nursing school, supported a special needs school and an orphanage.  Each week he made a 7-hour trip into the mountains offering medical care in a village that has no electricity and no medical care.

Jean Bedell, who authored the daily update of the mission (“the Full Mante”) tells the story: In April 1990, Dr David Rodriguez came from Cd Mante, Tampaulipas, Mexico and spoke with members of First Presbyterian Church.  These included Dave Gehant, Dr Stan Brenton, Dr Ted Appel, Dr Dick Bedell and Elfa Rodriguez (sister of Dr David).  He spoke about the lack of adequate medical care in Cd Mante and a request for help from Boulder.  Dave Gehant, CEO of Boulder Community Hospital at that time, grabbed hold of this need and in November 1990, a team of 23 went to Mante.  The first year there was a co-sponsorship between BCH, Boulder Rotary, and First Presbyterian Church.  This was the first of 20 years of service to the low-income people of Mante.  Each year the team grew in numbers and skills until 2010 when 100 peoplemade the trip.  Professional services offered included cataract repairs, general surgery, plasticsurgery, gynecology, pediatrics, physical therapy, and speech therapy.   During each year, Dr David screened over 10,000 potential patients on the basis of income, and appropriateness for treatment.  Each year approximately 6000 patients were seen and 600 surgical procedures were performed.   

Dr. Rodriguez was quoted in 2009 as he welcomed the members of the medical campaign that year to Mante: “Our relationship began on a professional basis, but our relationship is now deeply personal”.  The annual medical mission continued for 20 years but had to be halted in 2011 due to drug related gang violence in the Mante region.  Several attempts to restart the campaign were thwarted by the continuing violence.  

The medical teams made a tremendous contribution in improving the health of the citizens of Mante, Mexico.  Thousands of people were directly served by this highly skilled team of medical professionals. The benefit to the people of Mante has been incredible.

Mante Medical Campaign display:  On Feb. 27, 2015, Boulder Community Health formally dedicated a permanent display to honor the 20-year medical campaign to Mante.  The display is located on the third floor of the original hospital building in the Foothills campus.

The display depicts several scenes from the medical campaign over the years, it honors the founder, Dr. David Rodriguez, Sr. and lists the over 300 volunteers who in one or multiple years traveled to Mante to be part of this campaign to serve those in need in the Mante area.

Dr. David Rodriguez was a true humanitarian and will be missed greatly.  

Una passion, server Un anhelo, progresar

A passion to serve, a yearning to progress

Una gota de agua, cuando cae al mar, ya no es gota…es mar

When a drop of water falls into the sea, it is no longer a drop of water but becomes part of the sea

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