FELLSMERE – A new free health clinic for uninsured people aged 18-64 has opened in Operation Hope.
The Fellsmere Volunteer Medical Clinic, run by Dr. Fredy Delacruz, will see patients two half days a week and is open to low-income and uninsured residents seeking medical care.
The clinic has two exam rooms, a waiting room and a private office for consultations, and includes a part-time nurse and an appointment secretary, who volunteer their time.
Secretary Cecilia Narbaitz and nurse Charlene Smith assist Delacruz at the clinic.
Jesse Zermeno, founder and president of Operation Hope, has worked to bring medical services to the many people he serves through his monthly distributions of food, school supplies and Thanksgiving food baskets.
“I was so happy to have had the chance to meet Dr. Delacruz and introduce him to Operation Hope,” Zermeno said. “He asked me if I had a vacant space in our building where he could run a small medical clinic for the poor. Once we talked about what he wanted to do, I knew that was something Operation Hope wanted to be a part of.
Before retiring from private practice in 2006, Dr. Delacruz, 81, a board-certified urologist, practiced in Vero Beach and worked at what was then Indian River Medical Center and Sebastian River Medical Center. He operates a similar clinic in Palm Bay one day a week and volunteers with Space Coast Volunteers in Medicine.
History of Dr. Fredy Delacruz
Dr. Delacruz came to the United States at the age of 19 from Colombia. He initially trained as a lab technician, but when he was 21, he decided he wanted to attend medical school. He graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara and completed his residency at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in New York.
Although most men his age would be content to retire, Dr. Delacruz wanted to continue giving back to the community, he said.
He helped in Haiti after the devastating 2021 earthquake, providing medical care to thousands of injured people. He also provided urology services to the Indian River County Health Department in Vero Beach.
Delacruz said the most urgent need right now is to find volunteer doctors and nurses who are willing to donate several hours each month to the free clinic.
He also needs patients who are uninsured and meet the clinic’s low-income requirements.
“I think there’s such a need in this community,” Delacruz said. “I want to draw attention to the patient who can’t afford to see a doctor and doesn’t have insurance.”
Dr. Delacruz and his wife Olivia have resided on Orchid Island since 1997. When he is not practicing medicine, he can be found at the pickleball courts honing his skills.
Make an appointment
- The Fellsmere Volunteer Medical Clinic is open Mondays from 9 a.m. to noon and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Operation Hope, 12285 Fellsmere Road.
- Appointments are required to ensure patients meet the financial parameters of the free program.
- Patients cannot have private insurance or Medicare or Medicaid, to be treated at the clinic. For more information, call 772-571-6250.
Janet Begley is a local freelance writer for TCPalm.com. If you like articles like this and other TCPalm coverage of Treasure Coast news, please support our journalism and subscribe.