May 2, 2019
For more than 80 years, the Flying Doctors of Mercy (LIGA) has provided free critical medical care to Mexican citizens unable to afford even basic treatment. Volunteers treat tens of thousands of patients annually at monthly, three-day clinics held from October through June in Sinaloan communities along the Gulf of California coast.
LIGA volunteer pilots transport medical personnel – including physicians, optometrists, surgeons, dentists, nurses and others – who donate their time to treat a wide range of ailments.
“Over the first three-day weekend each month, our volunteers perform such varied procedures as ophthalmology and dental work, but our primary focus is internal medicine,” said LIGA president Russell Calverley.
In March 2018 alone, LIGA volunteers treated 932 patients for procedures ranging from cataract removal and dental cleanings, to such critical surgeries as hysterectomies, cleft palette repair and excising cancerous growths.
LIGA pilots typically use their personal aircraft, including Beechcraft Bonanzas and Cessna Skylanes, to transport critically needed medical personnel and supplies. Calverley emphasized his organization is always looking for more pilots, medical supplies and financial donations to support LIGA’s humanitarian mission.
“We have incredible volunteers and incredible staff,” he concluded. “Without question, this is the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.”