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'El Doctor con Botas' Is Known For Wearing Boots - And Saving Lives

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Dr. J. P. Schwartz says his patients in Presidio, Texas had a hard time pronouncing his last name. That's when they started calling him 'El doctor con botas.'

The Texas Standard's series “Heel to Toe” – stories about Texans and their boots – takes us to far west Texas.

“Evidently, in Spanish, the name Schwartz seems to be somewhat difficult to pronounce,” says J. P. Schwartz, a doctor who moved to Presidio after living in the Dallas area.

That’s why patients asked for “el doctor con botas” instead.

When Schwartz arrived in Presidio, he noticed a few things. One, he was the only doctor available in the region – not only on this side of the border, but also for some border towns in Mexico. And second, he also noticed there weren’t a whole lot of shoe stores. One day he found a boot store owned by a man by the name Cordero.

“He made one pair of boots for me that were black. I wore those boots every time I worked there,” he says, “and so they said, ‘We’d like to see the doctor that wears the boots.’”

Schwartz says one Saturday morning a woman came rushing in holding a baby in respiratory distress. She had come across the border from Mexico.

“It was really scary because we had no backup and the nearest hospital was probably 90 miles to the north,” he says. “When she came in, she immediately wanted to see ‘the doctor in the boots.’ That’s what she was told to define when she got to Presidio.”

He says there wasn’t even time to call EMS, so they cut a mask down to an infant’s size.

“We were talking just minutes or seconds to get something going on this baby immediately, and it began to respond almost at once.”

P. Schwartz – “el doctor con botas” – says the mother, and her baby continued coming to the clinic in Presidio. The baby was perfectly fine after that.

Carlos Morales is Marfa Public Radio's News Director.