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

Jeremy Johnson, an Iraq veteran, and his wife, Kelly, tend to the goats at 10 CAN Farm. By learning how to work with the goats, each one which has a different personality, Johnson has learned how to interact with people.

10 CAN Eases War Veteran Back Into Civilian Life

Three-time war veteran Jeremy Johnson suffers from spinal cord injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. 10 CAN, a Christian Adventure Network that works to help veterans and first responders, is easing him back into civilian life.


Tygur Scott, the 34-year-old lead advocate coordinator in Dignity Village, picks up trash littering the village's wash basin area. Scott, alongside his group of volunteers known as community advocates, works to keep Dignity Village clean and mediate disputes between residents whenever they might arise.

Resident Volunteers Keep Dignity Village Standing

Community volunteers, like Tygur Scott, help clean and maintain Dignity Village. Dignity Village’s future is not clear, but the volunteer group’s work helps until the city figures out how to manage the tent neighborhood, according to Lieutenant Rob Koehler of the Gainesville City Police Department.


Troy Butler, former UF football player, said, "Why am I going to waste time on a bust when I can go on my bike twice as fast?"

Gainesville Riders Hope To Start Bike-Sharing Program

Shane Hartley and Troy Butler choose to ride their bikes to work because they know the health and environmental benefits of biking. In order to unite people like them, the Gainesville Citizens for Active Transportation want to start a bike-sharing program.


The finale kicked off shortly before 10 p.m. and for many launched the holiday weekend. (Will England/WUFT News)

Photos: Scenes from Fanfares and Fireworks 2015

The 2015 Fanfares and Fireworks celebration, hosted by the UF College of Journalism and Communications, drew more than 10,000 to the campus July 3.


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Unexpected Fireworks Leave Some Veterans On Edge

Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder may face obstacles during the holiday weekend. Military With PTSD, a nonprofit organization, has started a campaign to help educate people about the effects of fireworks on people with PTSD.


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
Underwriting Payments