Community Service Thrives at Nossaman - Richard Spohn Joins Hospital de la Familia Board

08.27.2008
Nossaman News Release

San Francisco, CA (August 27, 2008) - Nossaman Healthcare Practice Group Chair Richard Spohn has been elected to the Board of Directors, as Vice-President, of the Hospital de la Familia, a California group that for over 30 years has financially and operationally sponsored and developed a hospital of the same name in the remote mountain village of Nuevo Progresso, San Marcos, Guatemala. The Board, with its medical professional collaborators, also organizes five two-week intensive service visits annually by teams of 30-40 doctors, nurses, technicians and helpers from all over the United States and Canada, who work 12-hour days providing medical care to the impoverished indigenous peoples of northwestern Guatemala and adjacent areas of Mexico. The region lacks any health care system, and any other care for the people served by the Hospital.

The Hospital was initially started by an Italian missionary and Napa builder Jack Younger. The Hospital has been generously supported over the years by members and friends of The Family Club in San Francisco. Its informative website, complete with photos and videos, is www.hospitaldelafamilia.com.

The Hospital maintains a skeletal full-time professional staff, including recent Guatemalan medical school graduates fulfilling their public obligation to provide services to the poor as a condition of their licensure. The Hospital also has a small grade school, nursing school and a nutrition center.

16,000 patients are treated each year, their "payments" consisting of a few quetzales or maybe a chicken or a bag of beans. The medical teams provide care for a wide range of maladies, from children suffering malnutrition to old people blinded by cataracts, along with the likes of other eye surgeries, cleft lip and palate repairs, general and gynecological surgeries and running busy outpatient clinics. 64% of the indigenous children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition; 57% of the patients earn the equivalent of $2 or less a day.

In 2000 Mr. Spohn created and for 3 years directed, at the Universidad Rafael Landívar in Guatemala, a labor-management dialogue, conflict resolution and mediation program for the top management and labor leaders of the country, lethally alienated during its 36-year civil war. Mr. Spohn is the Chair of Nossaman’s 37-lawyer Healthcare Practice Group. His public service is part of an honored tradition at Nossaman of which we are proud.

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