by Mike Liguori
After seeing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on television, doctors and nurses at Surgery Center of Park Meadows figured out a unique way to help the victims – they donated some plastic surgery.
Nearly $27,000 was donated to the American Red Cross thanks to the efforts of participating surgery center staff, who donated their pay and proceeds from cosmetic surgery appointments on Oct. 1. Breast augmentations, reductions, BOTOX, Restalyne and Sculptra injection procedures were all performed for the benefit of Katrina victims.
"I donated part of a day’s pay by working about four hours with no pay," said nurse Sylvia Arnold, clinical coordinator. "The patients paid their normal fee for the surgery but every penny was donated to the Red Cross. All labor and facility fees were donated.
"This was a very unique way to donate my skills, because I was able to do something I am comfortable with and that I specialize in. I think everyone involved, including the patients, felt they were doing something special to help the victims of the hurricane," Arnold said.
Dr. David Broadway conceived of the idea. "I was going to make a gift to the Red Cross on the Internet and saw an opportunity for volunteerism," Broadway said. "I knew my skills would not be needed onsite in New Orleans, but I thought of this idea. The nurses were very excited about participating, and it gave them an opportunity to volunteer their skills. It came together because everyone wanted to be a part of it."
Dr. Gregory Buford also participated, calling the event a win-win situation for everyone. "Our patients were excited about their results and proud that they could do something to make someone else feel good," Buford said. "I was honored to be given the opportunity to use my talents in such a positive way. Given the chance, everyone we asked would do this again."
Arnold was enthusiastic about similar future events. "We are planning to make this a yearly event with the proceeds going to a charity. Hopefully we’ll have time next year to get more physicians involved and make even more money," she said.
Patients and staff members were treated during the fundraiser day to a catered lunch and a chocolate fountain fondue dessert. Patients also received fun goodie bags filled with treats including skin care samples, note pads, pens and more.
"Kelly Fulton brought food and drink and made us all feel very special and appreciated," Arnold said. "Our procedures were done as usual and we tried very hard to give the patients the same privacy and respect as we would any day."
Other staff members who volunteered included Liz Campbell, Janet Hart, Candace Connelly and June Rushford. Besides Arnold, the registered nurses were Marjorie Stephenson, Patti May, Michelle Yordy, Pat Lohman, Robynne Zipperer, Stacie Watkins, Donna Tate, Debra Lopez and Judy Gantner.
Allergan donated the BOTOX, South Denver Anesthesia donated medicine and Centura Health and the Physicians at Park Meadows donated the facility’s use for the day. The center is a joint venture between Centura Health and the Physicians at Park Meadows LLC.
"The best part of the experience was just feeling like I had done something good, helped some people and was part of a very worthwhile effort with some great people," Arnold said. "It was very satisfying and fun."