Don Diego, as he was universally known, passed away last Tuesday at his home in Mojácar. He was universally known and respected as the main doctor for Mojácar during the 50’s and 60’s, a position he held with great care, understanding and patience.
He seems to have treated almost everyone who lived in the area during those years, and his fame as a doctor was well known, especially amongst expectant mothers, who would so often travel to Mojácar and pressurise family members to call him at the birth.
He was most famous for his “camping-gaz” stove, which a grateful expat (abroad looking for work, as so many had to in those harsh years) sent him from France in the late 50’s in exchange for services rendered to the family. This tiny butane stove, along with its precious canister of butane (anyone with business in Murcia would be expected to take the canister for refilling there) was, he often commented, his most important tool – it served as a portable torch in homes with no electricity, it boiled hot water in homes with no running water, and sterialised equipment for use.
Don Diego was also famous for what we would now call his “charity work” amongst the poorest section of society, and it was understood that in any emergency anyone could call him out, even in full knowledge that they were unable to pay his fees (in an era before free universal health care). His knowledge of the town would mean many had often imporant medical care and advice pro bono, with perhaps something coming his way if the recipient had a windfall or a good harvest.
The position of the local doctor has always been an important one in any local community, but stories of Don Diego appear to confirm that his was a reputation that went even higher than most of these important individuals. I had the honour of being, in the most tentous way imaginable, linked to his family; the casual mentioning of this fact once lead to many stories appearing from others in the bar about their, or their parents, experiences with him.