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Program Links Local Physician Back to Roots
By Lois Thomson

Ferdinand Martinez, M.D., FACSSince 2007, Ferdinand Martinez, M.D., FACS has been serving at Southwest Regional Medical Center as a general surgeon. Prior to locating to Greene County, Dr. Martinez served as Chief Resident of General Surgery for the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York and completed a clinical fellowship in advanced laparoscopic and bariatric surgery at the University of South Florida.

While in New York, Dr. Martinez formed a friendship with a fellow physician that would serve as a catalyst for helping patients well beyond our region. Christine Te, M.D. is also a general surgeon who now works for the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) of the Philippines. The two physicians met in New York and have kept in touch ever since.

According to the NKTI, almost 14,000 Filipinos suffer from end-stage renal disease and are undergoing dialysis. While kidney disease often cannot be cured, it can be prevented. The goal of NKTI is to foster prevention and early management through education and medical treatment.

"In the Philippines, if you do not have money for a procedure, the patient may not receive the needed care," explained Dr. Te. "There is no charity care or other means of paying so our organization helps to provide help to those in need. I could not be more grateful for the assistance being offered by Dr. Martinez and Southwest Regional Medical Center."

It is through this program that Dr. Martinez wanted to help. Not only do they share the common bond of having attended surgical training together, but they also share the common bond of both being raised in the Philippines. Dr. Te recently visited Greene County and while here, Dr. Martinez was able to provide needed medical supplies to assist the NKTI program.

"In the US there are many regulations which require us to waste items as soon as they are expired," said Dr. Martinez. "However, the guidelines are a little less stringent in the Philippines and they are able to help individual through these donated durable goods, such as surgical staple devices, sutures and catheters. While we are very frugal with our supplies, there are times when, despite our best efforts, items expire. We are now able to donate these items to help NKTI patients who need care instead of throwing them in the waste bin. I feel especially good about this in light of the recent typhoon devastation."

Dr. Martinez grew up in the Philippines amongst a family of doctors.

"My grandfather, father, sister and brother are doctors. On Sundays, when I was in high school, I would do dressing changes in the hospital while my dad supervised the whole thing," shared Dr. Martinez. "Many of them still work as physicians there today. It's nice to know these donations will help the poor and marginalized in the Philippines receive better care than they would expect to receive and allow Filipino physicians to perform the same kind of procedures.

Dr. Martinez sees patients in his office, located at 112 Walnut Avenue in Waynesburg. You can make an appointment by calling (724) 627-5474.

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