Magazine article Medical Economics

Patricia A. Fox, MD: Skillful Hands, a Generous Heart

Magazine article Medical Economics

Patricia A. Fox, MD: Skillful Hands, a Generous Heart

Article excerpt

'I never had children, so I dabble in other people's kids."

For plastic surgeon Patricia A. Fox, "dabbling" often consists of correcting deformities at the Cleft Palate Clinic she heads at St. Clare's Hospital of Schenectady (NY). Fox has served at the clinic-where reimbursements are minimal, at best-for more than 20 years.

"It's wonderful to repair a lip and take the child out to her parents:' she says. "It's a gift to be able to do that."

Fox, who's just five feet tall, also "dabbles" with children in the remote hill country of the Dominican Republic, where she has gone each of the past five years. Surgery days there can run 14 hours, reports her office manager and friend, Mary Jane Heffernan, who accompanies Fox. "Pat always has time to do one more case or help another surgeon who might not have finished for the day" Heffernan says.

Fox pays her own way on these missions, bringing equipment and supplies with her. She also arrives loaded with presents for children. "If the kids don't have shoes, paper, and pens," Fox explains, "they won't be allowed in school"

Her generosity of spirit and pocketbook isn't confined to kids. She selected the Dominican Republic because the island of Hispaniola has a profound need for medical care. "We did a large flap on a man with a gunshot wound that had left bone exposed on his arm. He walked more than 50 miles-from Haiti, with no shoes-so someone could treat him. Then he walked home"

In Schenectady, Fox's practice includes both cosmetic and reconstructive surgery, and she does a good deal of post-mastectomy reconstruction. …

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