Dr. Andrew Ordon on New Surgical Friends Foundation

Celeb doctor, Andrew Ordon, launches Surgical Friends Foundation.

Posted Dec 13, 2009

There are millions of people in United States and around the world who suffer with pain due to physical deformities and don’t have access to quality healthcare. That’s why Dr. Andrew Ordon, of the popular syndicated talk show “The Doctors,” is using his surgical talents and celebrity to launch Surgical Friends Foundation. Here’s more about the foundation direct from Dr. Ordon:

Jennifer Haupt: How did the idea for Surgical Friends come about?   

Andrew Ordon: My associates and I were frustrated when meeting patients who needed our help but could not afford it.  Even if we wanted to give our services away for free, which we do, there are a lot of other expenses associated with patient care.  Kami Parsa, M.D. came up with the idea of a foundation that could receive and administer donations to cover the bare essentials, allowing us to donate our time and help individuals who suffer from deformities that would benefit from reconstructive surgery.  We give our time, expertise, and organizational skills to the foundation and it's patients.  Our benefactors cover the costs of sutures, medications, anesthesia, and all the people, places and things we need to do our magic.  We need state of the art facilities and equipment to deliver quality care to the patients and through Surgical Friends, we get it.

JH: How many physicians and hospitals are currently involved in Surgical Friends and how do you see the organization growing during it's first year?

AO: Right now it is Dr. Parsa, Dr. Jay Calvert and I as the nucleus of the team.  We are based in Los Angeles at the Roxbury Surgical Center.  We recruit other specialists and facilities on a case by case basis, depending on the needs of the patient.  This year I foresee more doctors getting involved and thus, more patients being helped.  We can only grow, but we have seen other organizations languish in their own size and bureaucracy.   We don't want that to happen to us.  The mission is too important.  So we are moving ahead carefully and staying true to our primary purpose.

JH: What need does Surgical Friends fill that isn't being addressed by other non-profits that provide medical care in third world countries?

AO: Well, the deficiency of all types of health care in the world is so vast, that everyone that can help should help.  Even then, all the existing organizations together are only making a dent.  But every journey begins with a first step.  We are focusing purely on reconstructive surgery:  repairing the physical damage of trauma, acquired and congenital defects.  Other organizations may focus on improving infant survival, nutrition, starvation, preventive medicine, vaccination, AIDS and so on.  We are focused upon what we are best at:  rebuilding lives through reconstructive surgery.  

JH: How does Surgical Friends decide where to travel and whom to treat?

AO: We go where we are asked.  Cambodia for instance, is welcoming us because they have a huge problem.  Land mines.  They have more of them there than anywhere else in the world.  There is nothing more tragic than the curious and exploring spirit of a child resulting in a life long deformity.  The Surgical Friends team is perfect to introduce the local surgeons to our specialized techniques.  You see, we want to help the patients directly with surgery, but we also want to train the local surgeons how to do it.  We plan on being a continuing resource for the local health care team with online consultations to help the seeds of Surgical Friends grow.  The more lives we can positively impact, the better.

JH: Why travel at all to other countries when there's such a big need here for medical care for folks who can't afford it?

AO: We do help domestic patients as well.  We do it all the time.  But we don't have a myopic view of the health care crisis.  It is a worldwide problem that has to be addressed with a worldwide solution.  In countries where the void is the greatest, the suffering is exponential.  That is why we are planning the Cambodia trip.  With the land mine situation and the generally underdeveloped health care machine, we can do the most good there.  And the training we provide to the local surgeons will make it a gift that keeps on giving.  

For more information, visit www.surgicalfriends.org.