Monday, October 2, 2023 Oct 2, 2023
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Daniel Martinez’s Mission In Mainero

By Nancy McNeil Cornell |

Once a month, Daniel Martinez removes the figurative hat he wears as a prominent Dallas physician and associate clinical professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Dallas. He flies to Monterrey, Mexico, then travels by car three hours south to the farming village of Mainero. There for the weekend he wears the hats of healer, minister of the gospel, and friend to the populace. He has done this once a month for the past twenty-five years, at his own expense.

Villa Mainero, a village of about 1,500 residents, sits in the foothills of the Sierra Madre. “The people live and die there without ever leaving the town,” says Martinez. “They are fearful to go the distance to Monterrey for medical care.” The ten-bed hospital, founded by Martinez’s father, provides the only medical care available to Mainero and the surrounding community.

Martinez sought extra help when the need for medical care in Mainero taxed his abilities and resources. With the cooperation of the Mexican government, a medical brigade of physicians, dentists, nurses, technicians, and seminary students from Dallas and Monterrey travels to Mainero for a week twice a year.

While word goes out via radio that the caravan is coming, a local school is turned into a temporary hospital where more than a thousand patients are seen each day and fifty or more major surgeries are performed. “In Dallas,” says Martinez, “my specialty is ear, nose, and throat. In Mainero, I am a general practitioner and surgeon. The people there need the essentials. The diseases we see primarily are seasonal-gastrointestinal in the summer months and respiratory in the winter.”

The greatest needs are in pediatrics, gynecology, and general medicine. Martinez says. He purchased land for an expansion of the hospital but lacks funds to carry out the project.

A Dallas resident since 1957, Martinez met his wife, Claire, a registered nurse, when he was in Harvard Medical School and working at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She and their seven adult children fervently support Martinez’s commitment to Mainero. “My children know they have the responsibility to provide, with God’s wilt, continued participation from our family for the next generation,” Martinez says with a smile. “And maybe beyond that.”

“Providing medical care creates good will between our two governments.” says Martinez. “Obviously our borders need to be secure. But it should be by communication, example, and service-not force.”

Martinez often invites Mexican officials to tour the hospital so they can see the needs of their people. The governor of the state of Tamaulipas, impressed on his visit, asked Martinez, “What is your attachment to Mainero? Were you born here?” Martinez replied that he was not. Puzzled, the official asked, “What makes you do this, come so far with no pay?” Martinez handed him a Bible in Spanish and said. ’The answer is in here.”

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