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Plastic surgeon helps poor.

After Geoff Williams completed his medical training at the University of Utah, he went to Taiwan to specialize in cranio-facial medicine. While in Asia, he traveled to Vietnam and India to perform facial reconstructive surgery on children. Dr. Williams, a Boise native, told the Idaho Statesman newspaper that he "got addicted to working in those kinds of places. There's such a need. You have the feeling that you're their only hope."

Dr. Williams' "addiction" to treating patients in Third World countries has been a blessing to countless people in need of reconstructive surgery over the past seven years. The good doctor has taken a leave of absence from his regular position at least once each year to travel to areas of the world where plastic surgeons simply don't exist. What's more, he pays for most of his travel expenses out of his own pocket. Over the years, he has traveled to Bolivia, India, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, and Vietnam.

What compels a doctor who, in the words of a colleague quoted in the Idaho Statesman article, "could be making $1 million a year," to spend his time and money treating patients too poor to pay? The only answer can be true compassion for suffering children and a desire to help those less fortunate than himself. In most of the Third World countries where Dr. Williams serves, medical practice is limited to essential lifesaving--plastic surgery is an unheard-of luxury. Many children in such areas born with cleft palates or other disfiguring birth defects, or those disfigured by burns, have resigned themselves to their fate in life. The parents of such unfortunate children have often abandoned hope that their children will ever appear "normal."

Dr. Williams has also trained many physicians in the countries he visits in his art so that they can continue to treat patients he is unable to reach. As he told the Statesman, "When you can teach the local people to do the work, you're not just treating the patient, you're solving the problem."
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Title Annotation:THE GOODNESS OF AMERICA
Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:90ASI
Date:Apr 18, 2005
Words:338
Previous Article:Service before self.
Next Article:Exemplary citizens.
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