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Doctor Spends Year Building Honduras Clinic

September 23, 1990|LEE HARRIS

At 41, James Scott is on his third career. And he says he might still have a few careers left before he is finished.

For the last five years, the Whittier resident has been a doctor at Rio Hondo Memorial Hospital in Downey.

Before that, he was a police officer with the Whittier Police Department. While a policeman, he was a contractor and ran his own general construction company. And when he was in college, he started studying to become a veterinarian.

In 1988, Scott took time off from his medical practice and spent more than a year helping build a hospital in a poor village in Honduras.

His wife, Sally, 39, and three daughters, Jamie , 8, Becky , 12, and Jennie, 16, accompanied Scott and helped him with the 6,600-square-foot hospital being built in La Delicias, Honduras.

The doctor said he got the idea to construct the medical building when he visited a physician friend who was attending patients in the village.

"The patients were being treated under a tree or on a stump," Scott said. "With my background in construction, I thought I could build a hospital."

Scott let his fellow parishioners at Whittier Church of Christ know about his project and they raised money for it.

"Jim and Sally have been members for years. We wanted to support them," church elder Arnold Fox said.

Within a few months, the church membership of about 250 raised nearly $50,000. Medical supplies and equipment were donated by a variety of companies and doctors.

With the hospital nearly complete, Scott returned to Rio Hondo Memorial Hospital in late 1989 to resume his family medical practice. The Honduras hospital is being completed by other American physicians. Hondurans are being trained to run the hospital once it is finished.

Scott said he hopes to return to the village in a couple of months to see how things are going.

When Scott graduated from Huntington Park High School in 1967, he went to Modesto Junior College for two years with plans to become a veterinarian. Instead, he became a policeman, serving on the Whittier force for 10 years.

"After seeing two of my partners killed in the line of duty, I decided I wanted to get into a safer job," he said.

Scott earned a degree in biology from Cal State Fullerton before getting his medical degree from the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona. He did his internship training at Pacific Hospital in Long Beach before going to Rio Hondo Hospital.

Scott said he enjoys what he is doing, but he still could consider another career or two before he is through. He is just not sure what it would be.

* Nora Levy is the new marketing director for Los Cerritos Center in Cerritos. Before her present appointment, Levy was marketing director for Santa Anita Fashion Park in Arcadia. Earlier this year, the Hahn Co., which developed Los Cerritos Center and numerous other shopping centers nationwide, selected Levy as the marketing director of the year.

* The Intercommunity Blind Center of Whittier has presented former Whittier Mayor Victor Lopez and his wife Jan with its distinguished leadership award. Lopez served 12 years on the Whittier City Council, but did not run for reelection in April. Jan Lopez is a past president of the Whittier Area Chamber of Commerce.

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