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The Age of Scientific Medicine: Travel, Learning and the Open Door
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Mayo Travels and International Care

In 1872, Dr. William Worrall Mayo remarked that the duty of a physician "knows neither color nor race when humanity is suffering." This creed has been fundamental to the Mayo medical practice ever since its beginnings in Rochester.

The Mayo brothers traveled extensively to learn new medical techniques and promote the Mayo practice. One example of Mayo physicians caring for patients of different cultures began in the 1920s after Dr. William J. Mayo traveled to South America to help extend the friendship of U.S. physicians to their Latin American colleagues. After Dr. Will's return, the trip produced an influx of physicians from those countries. It also helped start a trickle of Spanish-speaking patients to the clinic.

Two years later, Dr. Will received attention in the press after he saved the life of an injured matador in a Mexican bullring. The matador had dedicated his bull to President Obregon of Mexico. After the matador's injury, the president asked Dr. Will, his guest, to help the wounded man. Dr. Will quickly stopped his patient's bleeding and received a resounding ovation, which was made known by the media throughout Mexico and adjoining countries. The result was an influx of Spanish-speaking patients to Mayo.

In 1924, the clinic engaged an English-speaking Spanish teacher from Cuba to help these patients while in Rochester.

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