Dr. Richard Agag is the Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and an associate professor of surgery. And yet, he has healed hundreds of patients around the world. Dr. Agag is a regular participant with the surgical teams for ReSurge International. His patients live from Katmandu to New Brunswick. He has reconstructed severely damaged limbs, cleft palates and relieved disfiguring scarring from burns.
While performing these surgeries gives Dr. Agag a deep sense of accomplishment and pride, he is most proud of the training he performs in these countries. In an interview with Rutgers University, Dr. Agag stated, “I’m not there to show them that I can do the surgery, but to stand back as much as I can and help them so they can do the surgery when I am not there.”
Dr. Agag joined ReSurge International in 2010 for a year’s fellowship. He traveled around the world with ReSurge – Mali, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Taiwan and Zambia. Most of the year he spent with ReSurge teams consisting of surgeons, nurses, pediatricians. These teams go in and conduct multiple surgeries in a set time period. The remainder of this fellowship year, he traveled solo to ReSurge outreach surgeons, teaching them techniques and learning from them as well.
Since the fellowship, Dr. Agag continues to travel the world each year on missions with ReSurge. His most recent visits were to Nepal. The surgeries Dr. Agag performs there are life transforming for the patients. Many are saved from lives of begging because of burn deformities. Children with correct cleft palates and lips can attend school and look forward to better lives.
Dr. Agag believes he receives as much as he gives. His own passion for medicine is renewed each time he goes on a ReSurge mission.
“It’s like you’re stripping away all the flu in medicine. It’s just you, another surgeon and a family. There’s no one else involved. It’s pure and rewarding for us,” he said. “We are helping people but also the local surgeons provide better care for their patients. When I come back to the United States and Rutgers, I know I will be able to be able to take better care of my patients from what I have seen and learned from these doctors.”
Barco’s Nightingales Foundation is proud to be a partner with ReSurge International and we encourage nurses to explore this life changing opportunity. For the complete interview visit their site.
~Michael and Frida Donner