Retired 92-year-old Oakland doctor offers free health care clinic to uninsured, low-income patients

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Thursday, November 17, 2022
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While 92-year-old Dr. Tom Wallace has already been retired for years, you can still find him volunteering his time in Oakland by providing uninsured and low-income patients with free health care clinics daily.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Dr. Tom Wallace, 92, spends every day helping patients at a free clinic in Oakland.

"This is more fun," Dr. Wallace said. "This is a lot more fun than a golf course or fishing."

The retired neurologist said he started volunteering at the Order of Malta Clinic of Northern California about eight years ago. Four years in, he decided to start going every day, pulling daily eight-hour shifts.

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Dr. Wallace stepped in as interim medical director a couple of months ago and he's receiving a small stipend.

With his age, he admits:

"I get tired a little more easily and things hurt sometimes and sometimes I don't remember names as well as I ought to."

But he doesn't let his age slow him down.

"I have a particular devotion to our blessed mother, Mary the Mother of God, and she takes really good care of me so I don't worry," said Dr. Wallace, who said he graduated from Indiana University and practiced at the Cleveland Clinic for almost 20 years.

Afi Ayitega said she started going to the clinic for her high blood pressure.

"(Dr. Wallace is) very nice," Ayitega said. "He took the time to understand, to ask you, 'What's wrong with you?' He's not rushing.. He makes sure everything is okay with you. I feel very comfortable with Dr. Wallace."

The clinic, which provides free care for uninsured and low-income patients, has served more than 45,000 patients. Dr. Wallace, who said he practiced in Livermore and Pleasanton for almost 24 years, has been instrumental in that.

During the pandemic, the Oakland resident still went into the clinic and helped patients through telemedicine appointments, for over a year.

While he helps others, doing this also helps fill a void for Dr. Wallace.

He said his wife passed away about nine years ago.

"These patients of ours, there's so much love exchanged," Dr. Wallace said. "There's so much love exchanged. They need our help. We're able to do it. And we see anybody who needs help.. And it doesn't matter about race or creed or religion. We just want to take care of these patients. And they know it and they respond to that and it's very gratifying."

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