In 1985, Thomas E. Geraghty, MD, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon in Kansas City, traveled to the Dominican Republic as a chief surgeon supervising plastic surgery residents, nurses and anesthesia personnel. The trip proved to be more than expected. As a result, MEDICAL AID FOR CHILDREN OF LATIN AMERICA (MACLA) a 501 (C) 3 not-for-profit corporation was developed for the purpose of surgically treating poor residents in the Dominican Republic and other third world countries in the repair of cleft lips and palates, burn scar contractures and various other correctable physical deformities.
Each February since 1985, Dr. Geraghty has taken medical/surgical personnel for 2-3 weeks to the Dominican Republic. In 1999, MACLA was invited by the Ambassador to bring teams to Bolivia to set up clinics as have been established in the Dominican Republic. MACLA’s first medical/surgical trip to Bolivia was in November 1999, at which time the teams performed over 60 surgeries and saw hundreds in clinic. Dr. Dana Towle has led teams to Bolivia every fall since that time. To date, the teams have surgically treated over 4000 patients, have consulted over 10,000 and have provided medical care to tens of thousands more.
MACLA is a Kansas City based organization. More than 210 physicians, nurse anesthetists and nurses have volunteered their time and talents to work with the teams. These dedicated volunteers have come from all over the United States. Many hospitals, businesses, foundations and individuals have provided resources for continued service to the people of the Dominican Republic and to Bolivia.
The Peace Corps is of great assistance with notifying those in need and with helping to bring patients from barrios throughout the Dominican Republic. They also serve as liaisons and interpreters during the mission. The Peace Corps is not active in Bolivia so past Peace Corps volunteers who worked on these trips in the Dominican Republic have continued to help MACLA by serving and donating their personal time as interpreters for the work in Bolivia.
Medical Aid for Children of Latin America:
Reconstructive Plastic Surgery in Developing Countries
By Thomas E. Geraghty, MD, Dana Towle, MD
Published Missouri Medicine, January/February 2003, Vol. 100 No. 1
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Dominican Reupublic
Thomas Geraghty, M.D., F.A.C.S., and Fred Thompson, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Reprinted from pages 91-97 of the February, 1991, Missouri Medicine
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