November 2019 - The Philanthropy Issue

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Cruz Roja

Cruz Roja de San Miguel was founded in 1980 with the sole purpose of preventing and eliminating human pain and suffering. In service to the community, the institution provides urgent and emergency medical services free of charge, neutral support in conflicts and disasters, and basic medical and dental care for those with limited resources.

I sat down for lunch with Leticia Fernandez de Noyola, President of Cruz Roja San Miguel.

Can you tell us a little bit about you and your time with the Red Cross?

I've spent about 6 years with the Red Cross as President – I was elected 3 times to this position, but I have served in other ways for a total of 16 years.

Red Cross in the US and Red Cross in Mexico are very different, and they do different things. Here in San Miguel, we are medical emergency providers for free. We respond to 30 emergency services daily – 200+ a week!

The ambulances respond to emergencies and transport patients to the hospital of their choice at no charge. We will help anyone... Tourists, residents, nationals, everyone. Hotels call often – Mostly for people who have been over-served and are dehydrated and need medical attention.

Have you been a volunteer all these years?

I am a volunteer. I work 12-18 hours a day for Red Cross. Only for Red Cross. And I never charge. I sometimes have to pay! When it’s day 15 or day 30 [of the month], we need to pay salaries. We have 21 paramedics on our staff. They must be paid… It is a lot to ask of them. I pay them a little bit.

What is the right number to call for an ambulance? There is some confusion about this…

If you need us, call us at 415-152-1616. Call us directly. And we call 911 to let them know.

The government says call 911. Because they want centralized control over emergencies and then they call us, BUT we have a lot of problems with that. The person they have to do medical services at 911 is sometimes… They spend 4-5 min to call us, and they don’t know what has happened to her or him.

We need to know what kind of problems [the person is] having. So, they give us the number of the person to call them, and we lose too much time when someone is hurt. We would like to have our own trained person inside 911, but we would need 3 people for this job. They work 8 hour shifts for a total of 24 hours/day. Since June, this has not happened. It’s impossible, we cannot work like this.

What do you need at the Red Cross? The need is mostly financial, correct?

Yes. We always are thinking of our needs. We have to train all the people in charge, and that costs money. They have to be certified. We are talking about lives, and they have to know what they are doing, and they have to do it perfectly. We need someone to do the training, books and manuals for studying, some medical materials, and we need a Life Pack. (It is for someone having a heart attack).

We hope to raise funds to renew equipment in our ambulances and support the new Red Cross Substation, which helps us to arrive more quickly to the emergencies that occur on the upper side of our city. We have five clinics at that location that provide low cost medical and dental services to those with limited resources.

Also, more Americans are needed to be close to the Red Cross. We need your support.

When is your next event and how can people buy tickets?

"Frida's Night" November 20th at the Rosewood! It starts at 7:00pm and there will be music, delicious food, a raffle, and an auction. Buy tickets in my antiques store in Fabrica Aurora, La Buhardilla. Or send an email to Tickets are $2500 MXN.

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