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Ambergris Today is saddened to announce the passing away of long-time resident doctor for San Pedro, Dr. Otto Rodriguez. He passed away on Thursday, May 12, 2011. The community of San Pedro has lost a very good doctor, a super good friend and an honorable Sanpedrano! May he rest in eternal peace and our condolences to his family.

Dr. Otto Rodriguez (affectionately known as Dr. Chapatin) was born, raised and married in El Salvador, graduated from a medical school in Mexico, and spent the greater part of his life in San Pedro, Belize. He moved to Belize in 1977 just at the time that the Lions Club of San Pedro was completing its Lions Clinic and in need of a doctor.
Dr. Otto accepted the invitation to be employed as the doctor with the Lions and thus became San Pedro’s very first resident doctor. As such he helped the community of San Pedro in numerous ways. First of all he provided the much needed medical and health services that were practically nonexistent.

Through his services, he saved the entire community the troubles and the big expenses of traveling to Belize City to seek medical attention. Furthermore Dr. Otto administered the drug store as well as arranged for visiting doctors from the U.S.A. to render their specialized services free of cost at the Lions Clinic.

It is safe to say that Dr. Otto has touched the lives of thousands of residents and visitors on the Island. He treated all kinds of ailments and diseases, received hundreds of newborns, certified hundreds of deaths, unfortunately including the death of his own son here in San Pedro.  

However what is outstanding about Dr. Otto is the fact that he was available 24 hours a day, every day of the week including Sundays and holidays. Dr. Otto received babies on Christmas Day with a huge smile of satisfaction. He was at your home at three in the morning wearing a T-shirt and again a smile of complacency. And whenever you said “Thank you”, he simply gave you a humble smile as if he was supposed to give you thanks.

Dr. Otto did everything in his powers to render his loving services to San Pedro. He joined the Lions Club and on numerous occasions he left meetings to attend to emergency calls. He was never able to enjoy a good dance as he had to leave to attend to a patient while his sons slept on a table in the dance hall at the Lions Den.  He traveled to the US to specialize so that he could administer the Hyperbaric Chamber and when he was certified, he worked double shifts, plus emergency calls.

For all of these and more reasons, San Pedro has fallen in love with Doctor Otto and has stood at his side as well. When his house was burnt down, the community put shoulders together to build him a home upstairs of the Lions Clinic. When he suffered his first heart attack, the community lovingly pooled together to render him much needed assistance. Dr. Otto has always bounced back with his labor of love for the community he loved and called his home.

His desire was to be laid to rest eternally in San Pedro so he shall exist in body here forever. And his name and spirit will be remembered for a long time by all of us whose lives he touched with loving care. We see the day when perhaps a health facility will be named in his honor because he truly deserves that honor so his name will live as a testimony of his love for San Pedro and humanity. Dr. Otto, thank you for your loving care, rest in peace eternally and live in our hearts forever.

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Dorian Nuñez's picture

Dorian Nuñez


  1. avatar

    I am very saddened by this!! my mother will be tooo!! i remember being taken to him as a child..i had asthma so i always went to the doc.. he was always so charismatic and quick to make you smile! he also attended to my son when he was a baby! this is very sad indeed. my heartfelt condolences to his family. May he rest in Peace. We have lost a great man but heaven has certainly gained an angel!

  2. avatar

    I am saddened by this, he was the epitome of what a doctor should be. He will always be regarded as the most humble and caring physician by me. 

    - a former patient

  3. avatar

    Very sad to hear of the passing of Dr Otto. He contributed greatly to the health and well-being of San Pedro.  Something very special about Dr Otto was how many times he would just "show-up" when someone was suffering...he and his trusty doctors kit. Will alway remember fondly sharing a seat on the bus from San Ignacio to Belize City. Rest in peace, Lion RodriguezCry.

  4. avatar

    RIP Dr. Otto, you saved my life on January 25, 2005 after having a heart attack 6 miles north of town. You stayed with me all night and traveled with me to the hospital in Belize City the next morning. God speed .

    Dave Fisher

  5. avatar

    Dr Otto was a very good doctor and an ANGEL.   I am very certain that he has a very special place in Heaven. 

    San Pedro will miss you!!!!!

  6. avatar

    I am very sad to just think i will never see dr otto again, he was a very very good doctor, i worked along with him for the past year and i could tell you, he was a very good person and colleague to work with, i still remember offering him a tea in the mornings at work, or asking him doc are you feeling ok!! i will surely miss him alot, especially when there are emergencies at night time, doc i will miss you and always remember you, may god bless you and may you rest in peace.

  7. avatar

    I think my uncle has been a great person and a great lover of his profession, man I hope you're a great inspiration in my life hope I can follow in your footsteps.
    f) Angel Alvarado Rodríguez

  8. avatar

    Dr. Otto Rodriguez gave his life for his people in San Pedro. It was soo sad to see you go, but you will always be in the heart of so much people here in the island. Atleast just to remember your smile, when u sat down down and had lunch, dinner or even a cup of tea or coffee. Esp, for those mothers that saw their babies in your hands, the ones that you saved their lives, we will always appreciate what you did for us. You were the best and the most humble doctor in this island, others should see what you have done and walk by your path.

    But no matter what, no other doc can replace you. That's for sure!!!


  9. avatar

    En mi nombre y el de mi familia, nos unimos a vuestro dolor y recibid nuestro apoyo mas sincero en tan señalada ocasion.

    Con una profunda pena y tristeza escribo estas cortas lineas dirigido a la Familia del Dr. Otto Rodriguez y a todo el personal y colegas de trabajo que tuvieron la dicha de trabajar al lado  de el  en la Isla San Pedro.

    Lamentamos profundamente su fallecimiento, aunque lejos nuestras familias siempre se han querido a pesar de la distancia que hoy nos separan pero el cariño y la admiraciòn nunca ha desfallecido siempre los hemos llevado en nuestros corazonez y siempre dimos gracias a Dios por habernos puesto a Otto y Mirella y su familia en nuestros caminos, son para nosotros seres increiblemente sorprendentes por su calidad humana y su gran humildad para con su projimo hoy hemos perdido uno de nuestros queridos amigos y compadre, un medico y hermano y confidentente ecepcional. 

    Se que es una pueba durisima y quiero ofrecerles un calido abrazo y todo nuestro apoyo en vuestro dolor   y que encuentren el consuelo para poder disfrutar su recuerdo y todo lo que nos ha legado en el transcurso de su vida.

    Ma. Teresa Castellanos

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