Dr. Francisco Castro
Since becoming staff pediatrician and medical director at Dorie’s Promise in 2007, Dr. Francisco Castro has played a key role in improving the health of numerous children. Soon after he arrived, the physician realized infectious disease outbreaks posed the most serious threat to the home. Two months later, he faced the most serious medical challenge of his professional life—an adenovirus outbreak that included viral pneumonia, threatening 60 percent of the children. Thanks to the aid of two nurses who joined him for 17 days and nights of continuous toil, they saved every life.
As a young man, Francisco went to study at a Catholic school in De la Salle, located in northeast Guatemala. Though a time of conflict and internal struggle between revolutionary guerillas and U.S. trained soldiers, the mess sensitized him to human suffering and injustice. His family’s example, school staff, and Christian missionaries in the region collectively inspired him to dedicate his life to giving. Considering what profession would provide the tools to serve others led to his choice of medicine. “Early in medical school I heard that a pediatrician is sitting at God’s right hand because he looks after children, the most precious of humankind, and the present and future of humanity,” Dr. Castro recalls.
After 25 years in the medical field as a professor of pediatrics, head of the pediatric department, and private practice in Guatemala and England, he decided it was time to work on behalf of forgotten children, mothers and families. His first position with another organization involved working with street children and contributing to an emergent health system. After two years there, founder Heather Radu invited him for an interview. Even though he planned joining a larger organization, he says Dorie’s Promise needed his expertise and dedication the most.
Although he holds another, part-time position, Dr. Castro visits the home daily and is on call 24/7.