Often, when we think of the mistreatment of the mentally ill and the violation of their rights we focus on institutional exploitation of those who are incarcerated.
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Farewell to the Free Doctor
He was known in Arima as The Free Doctor, because Dr Eugene Laurent never turned away a sick person. You could have nothing but holes in your pocket, he would attend to your cough, psoriasis, diabetes, palpitations or whatever.
He wasn’t checking bank accounts; he preferred heartbeats and chest sounds.
Once, a patient whom he had treated free of charge returned to him after some months, looking like he was ready for Lapeyrouse. Shocked at the man’s condition, Dr Laurent chided the relatives. Didn’t they give him the medicine, didn’t they ensure he followed the diet he had prescribed?
This is the answer he got: “Well, to tell you de trute, Doc, after we left here, we went by de payin’ doctor for the better medicine. Buh like it ent work, so we say bess we come back by you.’’
Dr Laurent had a whole bag of stories like that.
“I will miss that clown,’’ his sister Valerie said, still in disbelief that such a light had gone out.
Dr Eugene Cipriani Laurent, 79, died on March 6.
Among the last sentences he was able to utter was, “But Val, the nurse not even smiling.’’ He was a riot, right to the end.
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