WUFT News

‘Anarchist Doctor’ Heals Homeless

By on March 25th, 2014
Roosevelt Anderson, a Tent City resident, receives care from Alex Templeton. Templeton is a traveling Catholic missionary who spent three months in Gainesville providing service to the less fortunate.

Ashley Crane / WUFT News

Roosevelt Anderson, a Tent City resident, receives care from Alex Templeton. Templeton is a traveling Catholic missionary who spent three months in Gainesville providing service to the less fortunate.

Deep within the city of tents freckled throughout Gainesville’s woods, a 22-year-old traveling Catholic missionary finished disinfecting a suspected case of gangrene that had taken over a resident’s toes.

His only medical training comes from lessons his father, a former field medic in the army, taught him when he was young.

“I practice sort of like an anarchist doctor,” Alex Templeton said. “I don’t have any statewide licenses or federal licenses, but I use a God-given talent and ability to provide what the people need without restrictions.”

Templeton arrived to Gainesville by bus after doing similar missionary work in Yuma, Ariz. He said he plans on continuing to travel, fulfilling a lifetime dedication to conduct missionary work and participate in social protest where he feels needed.

During his three months in Gainesville, Templeton gave haircuts and served meals to the hungry and homeless community. He spent his Tuesdays gathering gauze, Band-Aids, tapes and salves for medical expeditions he’d take to Tent City.

On March 4, many of the camps were vacant, and Templeton was busy mending a broken nail when he heard about a man deep in the tented woods who possibly needed his toe amputated.

Without hesitation, he set out along the dirt path through the trees to find three-month Tent City resident Roosevelt Anderson and, according to Templeton, a bad case of gangrene.

“I was never afraid,” he said. “My friends would be straight up bleeding sometimes and I’d jump in there and be the one to put my fingers in it to stop it. I’ve never been real blood-shy or anything like that.”

After spending half an hour sitting in Anderson’s camp, exchanging small talk and filing away at the infection, Templeton fastened the last ribbon of gauze and handed the man his sock.

“There’s the finished product partner,” he said to Anderson. “Field dressing.”

“You don’t know how much we appreciate that,” Anderson’s wife said. “About four days ago I flipped my truck three times and we haven’t had a way to get him to the doctor.”

Templeton gave Anderson his personal cell phone number and encouraged him to call any time he needed more help, no matter the time.

He said he does not believe in breaking laws for the sake of being rebellious and that he only treats what he knows he can handle, like cleaning wounds and providing relief from pain and swelling.

“You have to educate yourself,” he said. “You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’ve got a man that’s bleeding to death in front of you and you have no idea how to help him.”

According to Florida Statute 768.13, anyone who “gratuitously and in good faith renders emergency care or treatment” in areas without access to medical equipment or in a state of emergency should not be held liable.

Karen Driscoll, who has practiced as a licensed medical doctor in Florida for 28 years said that she could not imagine someone having a problem with Templeton’s practices as long as he is not writing prescriptions, preforming surgery or collecting money.

“There’s lots of people who don’t have insurance or a means of getting to a doctor,” she said. “You can’t wrong someone from wanting to help people because they don’t have a degree.”

“They’re people just like us,” Templeton said. “So I go and visit them because that’s the dignity that they deserve. I will uphold that until there is no more breath in my lungs.”

On Monday, March  17, Templeton boarded a Greyhound bound for Washington D.C. to continue his work.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Teacher Conference Aims to Bring Global Perspective Into Classrooms

Gainesville Connected, a conference in Gainesville, aims to equip teachers to engage students on global issues such as poverty.


Anna Claire (left) and Katie Scarlett (right) are two capuchin monkeys that were once pets but now live in the Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary. Scarlett is blind and Claire is diabetic.

Primate Sanctuaries Feel Stresses of Insufficient Funding

Sanctuaries are struggling to take in primates as researchers and pet owners forgo euthanasia for better homes.


Oct. 23, 2014: Afternoon News in 90

A video roundup of local, state and national stories for readers in North Central Florida.


The Ocala City Council voted not to renew Matthew Brower's contract as city manager on Tuesday. Brower's current contract will expire on Dec. 21.

Ocala City Manager’s Contract Not Renewed

The request to reappoint Matthew Brower as Ocala’s city manager was rejected on a three-to-two vote by the Ocala City Council. Brower was appointed city manager in February 2011, and his contract will now expire on Dec. 21.


Victoria Rusinov administers FluMist to a child at the Control Flu clinic at Littlewood Elementary School.

CDC Studies Effects of Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine Over Traditional Shot for Children

Recent studies suggests a nasal spray form of the flu vaccine is more effective than the flu shot in healthy children ages 2 to 8, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments