Hero of the week: Paul Vanek, MD

I’d like to recognize the humanitarian efforts of one of my longtime friends, Dr. Paul Vanek. Paul, who is a double-boarded plastic surgeon and general surgeon, and I trained together in Plastic Surgery, at the University of Michigan, more than a few years ago.

When the earthquake struck Haiti, Paul knew what he had to do. He called CNN, and found about a medical relief team called Project Medishare. Leaving his practice and family in Ohio, Paul flew to Haiti, with 2 nurses and an aesthesiologist and joined the effort….and started to work.

His background in trauma surgery came in handy, as he dealt with infections & abscesses, major limb issues, crush injuries and the like – all in very primitive conditions, with the most basic of equipment. According to Paul, it was more basic than TV’s “MASH” series. What they didn’t have in equipment, they improvised. For 8 days, the surgical team slept on the ground, ate MRE’s, and operated day and night on the injured multitudes who needed help, until they ran out of supplies.

That’s heroic.

You can read about Dr. Vanek’s work with project Medishare here, or in numerous local papers (link)

Paul is humble about his role in the experience. Ever philosphical, he is now back at home in Ohio with his family, and is grateful for life’s blessings. He’s continuing to raise money for Project Medishare and the Haiti relief effort.

Well done, my friend!

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