Edgar Rodas, My Professional Brother

Interplast’s Edgar Rodas is my professional brother. Dr. Rodas and I are non-identical twins. We both came onto the scene seventy-six years ago, both are surgeons–one trained in general surgery, one in reconstructive plastic surgery–and both underwent our surgical servitude at American universities before entering academic life, one at University of Cuenca, Ecuador, and the other at Stanford University, U.S.A.

Both have spent a long time in international humanitarian surgery, with Rodas concentrating on high-tech laparoscopic cholecystectomy. He brought that miracle to the jungle, and demonstrated a new era in medicine effectively popularized with his five thousand cases in rural Ecuador and a magnificent record of efficacy and safety. Laub started a nonprofit foundation on Stanford University grounds.

Both surgeons have demonstrated that their foundations and any foundation “so conceived and dedicated” have tenets in common. Both the university medical school and the nonprofit foundation offer teaching, research, patient care, and community involvement for public benefit. Both are able to accept donations with freedom from taxation by the government. The foundation method also carries out a purpose similar to that of the government: transfer of wealth to those who are most in need, and work for the public interest, education, charity, and without self-aggrandizement. Both classes of institution they have adopted are methods of doing good for the greater group and for their individual self-interest, and both have found a huge source of income in so doing.

The income is in the form of non-tangible or psychic income: the impressive joy one experiences when doing something for the benefit of the other. And one secondarily, rather than primarily, benefits as a result of the happiness at working toward a greater good.

The university course, Community Medicine (at University of Cuenca and University of Azuay), student-performed humanitarian international surgery, and _____________ are parallel organizations. Additionally, Cinterandes Foundation and Cirugia y Especialidades surgery for the InterAndean countries and Interplast International Plastic Surgery are working in the area of mobile surgery. The concept contained here represents a profound change in the practice of medicine from patient-visits-doctor to doctor-goes-to-patient. Interplast travels with multidisciplinary teams, recurrently schedules, practices excellence, and involves excellent patient care, teaching, and sustainability in the best form–long-term professional and personal relationships.

One indication that the theory and the practice are using good principles is that the results circa June 2011 have been awesome.[1] Of course this is not a controlled study, but there are results from practice using other methods that make a type of control, or at least a comparison. The results of Rodas’s jungle and mountaintop and seashore rural work done gratis and with high standards and standard operating procedures show morbidity and mortality rates better than that of most comparable hospitals. Interplast results average 3 deaths per 50,000 and a complication rate entirely comparable with that of the work in hospitals in developed countries. This should help the nonbelievers admit that a door may have been opened for further investigation.
[1]  [insert statistic regarding results]


2 thoughts on “Edgar Rodas, My Professional Brother

  1. I so enjoy every entry in your blog! And as a fellow serious cancer survivor these days (pancreatic adenocarcinoma – 3 yrs post Whipple, ned) also at UCSF, I love knowing that you are still here and sharing your wonderful intellect with the world. Thank you and love. Laurie

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