From Saddles to Cessnas, Liga International Flying Doctors of Mercy are Changing Lives
By Donia Moore
A train trip through the dusty Sinaloa desert of Mexico gave birth to the idea, which became Liga (League) International (Flying Doctors of Mercy). When physician, Iner Sheld Ritchie, traveled to Mexico City from the U.S. to treat then-President Abelardo Rodriguez in the 1930s, he noticed great illness and suffering as he passed through the country of the Yaqui Indians, some of Mexico’s poorest residents. He discussed the situation with the President, who offered help. Dr. Ritchi’s idea grew during his three-month long “vacation” horseback trips into Sinaloa, Sonora, and Baja, California to treat his impoverished “patients.” Word of his healing expeditions went the rounds of his medical colleagues, and it wasn’t long before he had a cadre of physicians joining him to help. Liga was on its way.