Although I sincerely appreciate being the subject of a recent Napa Valley Register article (“Dr. Zimmermann: A Napa plastic surgeon with a generous heart,” Sept.20), and having been quoted so kindly by Jennifer Huffman, I wish to expand upon that interview in more detail.

Almost all of the physicians in the Napa Valley have surely donated their time and services at one time or another -- some more frequently than others, some in Third-World countries, some here in our own community, and some in both locales. They have done that of their own accord and at their own expense, sharing the products of a wonderful education that we all have had the good fortune to receive. Like me, they feel that it is their God-given duty to share their talents with those less fortunate.

Some of us have had the opportunity to perform our services in foreign countries. Although I can only speak specifically of those of whom I have direct knowledge, I know that this list is far from inclusive. Dr. Bill McClure and Dr. Becky Jackson have both participated in dozens of trips over the years. Dr. Robert Dunham has served in Padua New Guinea and Africa, Dr. David Crawford in Afghanistan, Egypt, and Papua New Guinea, and Dr. Mark Price in Thailand and Peru.

Dr. Steve Herber and Dr. Martin Paukert recently brought over a young child from a foreign country and reconstructed a severe cleft lip and palate deformity, at no charge to the patient. They both participate in an ongoing program sponsored by St. Helena Hospital that is specifically geared toward medical care for the indigent patient.

Both Queen of the Valley Hospital and St. Helena Hospital have been more than generous over the years to cover the expenses of poor children with horrendous facial deformities that we have brought from Third-World countries for life-changing reconstructive surgeries.

The anesthesiologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons, and nursing personnel that worked with us at both of these fine facilities are every bit as responsible for the success of their surgery as we're we as surgeons. Similarly, the foster families who selflessly cared for these children during their recuperation deserve our gratitude as well.

Dr. Michael Shifflett has spent countless hours over the years volunteering at high school football games as have some of the fine physical therapists from our valley who have taken the time to ensure that these young athletes are maintained in the best physical condition possible.

Add the physicians who perform free physical exams for our various schools’ athletic programs, and the physicians who are present at all of the PGA tournaments.

In case of emergency, all of the valley’s medical teams take care of the patient first, without consideration of insurance coverage.

Surely not to be forgotten are the members of the dental community who donate their time to the Queen’s Dental Clinic and similar charities.

Nurses, doctors, physical therapists, dentists -- the list could go on forever and is very long, indeed. The residents of the Napa Valley are indeed fortunate to have these generous men and women in our presence. Please join me in thanking them for all they have done and will continue to do. They all personally deserve an article in the Register.

Dr. John P. Zimmermann

Napa

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