Giving Back in the Covid-19 Crisis
I started working as an assistant newspaper delivery boy when I was eight years old and at ten years of age I inherited the paper route as my own. Ever since that time I have never been without a job. I always worked part time during school, and it has been very strange to be unemployed for the last five weeks!
I have not been able to see patients as my practice is 100% elective and the Governor banned all elective surgeries. No such thing as an emergency facelift! I have, however, been extremely busy with numerous projects. I have done many video consults with patients that were unable to be seen personally and I’ve also spent countless hours each day rewriting the 3rd edition of my textbook cosmetic facial surgery. I have also been trying to catch up on my website and before and after pictures. Essentially I am busy with work without being at work.
My partners have been busy and working treating emergencies which included anything from severe facial trauma in the hospital emergency rooms to facial infections in the office. I want to thank them as well as all other medical providers who stepped up to the front lines (and continue to do so) to treat patients in this unpredictable time period.
One of the main and most important parts of the Virginia Oral and Facial Surgery mission statement is to give back to the community. We continually are involved with ongoing charitable projects throughout the year but specifically have done several new projects during this COVID-19 crisis.
I have two severely disabled children with physical and mental disabilities and obviously I’m sensitive about any community issues affecting this patient group. I am fortunate to be able take care of my sons at home with around the clock nursing. It came to my attention that there were numerous outbreaks of COVID-19 at the Virginia Home. The Virginia home is a 125-year-old institution that takes unbelievable and loving care of citizens with disabilities. Many of these patients are totally helpless and if it were not for the Virginia home, they would have no place to live, no one to take care of them, nothing to do and no one to love them. it is an extremely important part of our community. Diseases such as these viral infections can ravage vulnerable patients and institutional groups like this in the same manner as they do nursing homes.
I received a phone call from our longtime friend and Virginia Home board member Lila Dickinson. She informed me that there was a critical challenge at the Virginia Home with a severe deficiency of personal protective equipment for their residents and staff during the very early stages of this outbreak. I went to my partners and knew that they would step up with me with these vulnerable patients. All of my partners answered with a resounding “yes” and I am pleased to say that our employee Tina rose was able to obtain almost 800 protective gowns which was virtually impossible in the earlier weeks of this crisis. She worked very hard and diligently to assist the Virginia home. Thank you, Tina, and thank you partners.
I want to thank my friends at the Virginia Home including CEO Bob Crouse, Director of Development Belinda Falconer, board member Lila Dickenson and the entire staff for looking after and taking care of these residents in the same love and manner as they do their own family. It does take a village to support such an organization.
Some of the grateful staff at The Virginia Home with some of the 800 gowns donated by the doctors of Virginia Oral and Facial Surgery.
We were also happy to assist the local Latino community when my partner Dr. Mauricio Herrera received a call for assistance from the Sacred Heart Center or ” Centro Sagrado Corazon”. This is a local Latino organization that help the their community in all basic aspects, including educational opportunities for children, adults; innovative programs for youth to keep them out of streets and also help families with financial needs. One of Dr. Herrera’s patients who is in the radio industry informed him that about the organization and he contacted and asked if they needed help. Dr. Herrera was informed that they needed assistance, but not in the form of money’ they specially asked for nonperishable food and personal cleaning items. Dr Herrera asked our board of directors for assistance and once again all of my partners were happy and excited to assist. The entire staff of Virginia Oral and Facial Surgery were able to collect over $1,000 of non-perishable food and personal cleaning items to donate to people in need during this crisis. Thank you partners and staff. Dr Herrera was also a guest on the Latino morning radio show, Facebook and Radio Poder discussing the current state of affairs and our assistance within their community.
The staff from the Niamtu Cosmetic Surgery team with their personal donations to the Sacred Heart Center (Centro Sagrado Corazon).
A proud Dr. Mauricio Herrera with some of the items donated by Virginia Oral and Facial Surgery to those in need in the Latino community.
It was our pleasure to assist these two organizations and we plan on continuing this work with other local charities in need, giving back is part of our everyday practice and not just in times of crisis.
Finally, we would like to thank all of the countless health care workers and first responders who could simply not just stay at home. They remain on the front lines of a true battle zone and their courage ethics and dedication will be forever appreciated.
Joe Niamtu, III DMD
Cosmetic Facial Surgery