WATCH: This doctor lets patients pay only what they can afford
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Doctor Paulo de Valdoleiros doesn’t just attend to health problems. He restores people’s faith in humanity. For many, the high cost of medical services derails their treatment. But at De Valdoleiros’ clinic in Bloemfontein, patients are welcome to pay as much as they can afford. This approach often prompts people to open up about their financial hardships. De Valdoleiros listens earnestly, as they each echo his own background.
Though De Valdoleiros always yearned to be a doctor, his family didn’t have the funds for his education. So he went straight to work, toiling in different careers for most of his life.
By the age of 45, De Valdoleiros couldn’t ignore his lifelong passion any longer. “I woke up one morning and decided I’m not going to die without even trying,” he says. But it wasn’t a simple endeavour.
De Valdoleiros contacted every medical faculty in South Africa, receiving the same response every time – his matric certificate was outdated. So De Valdoleiros enrolled in a Bachelor of Science degree, proved that he could maintain high results, and was finally selected to study Medicine. He graduated one month before turning 51.
In June 2019, De Valdoleiros opened his clinic with the intention to place humanity before business. “One of the problems in healthcare is that we depersonalise the patient,” he says.
Here, people can walk in confident that they’ll be seen by someone who sincerely cares.
De Valdoleiros’ novel practice has attracted attention throughout South Africa, and he’s a regular guest on a televised health show.
Despite his fame, De Valdoleiros remains focused on helping others. No matter what patients pay, he’s always giving more. The gift of kindness is priceless.