BY MARCY SHORTUSE - For the last 40 years, a kindly smile and twinkling eyes have met with patient, after patient, after patient on the island. Dr. Henry Livingston Wright has been a huge part of the heart and soul behind the Boca Grande Health Clinic, and he is now the subject of a new book, to be released in September.
The book, “The Wit and Wisdom of the Island Doctor,” will be available at the Boca Grande Clinic.
The special, signed, limited first editions will be available for $100, and about 70 have been sold. Contact the Clinic to reserve a limited edition. The regular edition will be available for $29.50 at the Clinic and a number of Boca Grande retailers. All proceeds go to the Boca Grande Health Clinic.
Dr. Wright first came to doctor the residents of Boca Grande when he was here on a fishing trip years prior to his taking over the clinic on September 1, 1973.
According to him, he was on his boat at Miller’s Marina when a boy, his friend’s son, fell and gashed his head open. The clinic doctor was away at a meeting, so Dr. Wright whipped out his Florida Medical Association card and offered to do the job.
When Dr. Wright was offered a position as director of the Clinic in 1973, he decided to give up his ob-gyn practice in Tampa and move to Gasparilla Island. He was 49 at the time.
For 17 years, he was the only doctor Boca Grande had. As an avid fisherman, there were many times his answering machine said, “I have gone fishing. You can reach me by radio on Channel 72 ... “
In 1973, an office visit was $12 for winter residents and $7 for the locals.
Anecdotes from, and about, people such as Lady Bird Johnson, and cartoons by Peter Diebold are also included in the book. It’s not too late, either, to make your own contribution to the book. If you have fond memories or tales of Dr. Wright, you can contact the Boca Grande Health Clinic at 964-2276.View More images >>
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