Edwards, MS -- A good Samaritan doctor is being punished by the state of Mississippi for helping those less fortunate than him.
With a 2007 Toyota Camry as his Dr.'s Office, 88-year-old Dr. Carrol Frazier Landrum, has been treating poor or disabled people who are unable to travel to seek medical attention for years.
Earlier this month the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure has issued an ultimatum to Dr. Landrum; stop practicing medicine and give up his license, or face a hearing.
Landrum provides an invaluable service to the homeless, to the poor, and to those who are unable to travel, and he cares not if his patients are able to pay his trivial $45 charge. However, according to Landrum, the state is not worried about these charitable endeavors, but are more concerned that Landrum is operating out of his car.
“I’ve always had a heart for the poor,” Landrum told The Washington Post, struggling to hold back tears. “I grew up poor, and when the doctor would come to us, and he was happy to see us, I pictured myself doing that some day. I try not to ever turn people away — money or no money – because that’s where the need is.”
Landrum said that the state board has labeled him "incompetent," a label which is designed to avoid having to name a specific occupational violation. He said that there are no grounds for this claim.
Landrum doesn't try to recruit new patients or grow his practice, he simply helps those who have no where else to turn. To the state this is akin to malpractice.
“If you’re gong down a highway and somebody is hurt in a car accident, you stop and attend to them,” he told The Post. “And if you’re in a shopping center and somebody is having a heart attack, you stop and help. It’s your duty as a physician, and this is no different.”
"If it wasn't for [Dr. Landrum] a lot of people would be dead and gone, children, grown-ups, and everybody else," said one of Landrum's patients.
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According to the Clarion-Ledger, the board's executive director, H. Vann Craig declined to comment on the case, but did say, “The mission of the Mississippi State Board of Medical Licensure is to protect the public."
Apparently preventing a man from providing an often free and beneficial service to willing recipients is in the interest of "protecting the public."
This reaction from the state is unfortunately becoming par for the course. Municipalities in all shapes and sizes tend to stifle the ability of one man helping another. The recent attack on homelessness around the country highlights this travesty.
There were several instances last year in which charitable organizations were shut down and their members threatened with arrest or arrested for simply helping their fellow man.
It seems that the state wishes to be the sole provider of charity. The state robs one group of people to ostensibly help another group, and they call this charity. But when a man uses his own resources to help people in need, the state calls this "incompetence."
Unfortunately the idea is widely accepted that society must be extorted through taxation in order to pay exorbitant salaries to politicians so that they can in turn divvy out a small portion of these funds to help people.
The good news is that since this story has come to light it has received worldwide attention. The outpouring of support for Dr. Landrum has come from places like Singapore, Lithuania, France, and even Saudi Arabia.
An online petition has been started that is almost to its goal of 38,000 signatures and will likely reach it today.
Landrum's case has also gotten the attention of a local contractor in Edwards, Harrison Williams. Williams has offered to donate an office space to Landrum.
"I do this because I enjoy helping people," Landrum said last week. "It's basically like a house call, except in a parking lot. It's something I enjoy doing. Helping people is why I became a doctor in the first place."