Doctor Steps In When Single Mother Couldn’t Afford Her Daughter’s Surgery.

Story by Colleen Duval

As a young girl I remember a very special doctor name Dr. William Robert Vincent. I had been to several doctors as a child, but I have a special place in my heart for Dr. Vincent. He was a Pediatric Cardiologist at UCLA Hospital in Los Angeles back in 1971 who saved my life. I was eight years old at the time with a severe heart problem and I needed heart surgery. My Mom was a single mother raising three girls and she could not afford to pay for the surgery herself. Dr. Vincent told my Mom that without the surgery there was a real good chance I would not live to be thirteen years old. After contacting several organizations Dr. Vincent was able to get the surgery funded through United Way, a Crippled Children’s Organization.

I recall Dr. Vincent being a handsome man and a very gentle and caring person. He made sure that I got the medical care that I needed that I couldn’t get otherwise. I remember being in the hospital for an Angiogram test, and during the procedure I was crying hysterically, so the medical staff called in Dr. Vincent to calm me down, and he was able to comfort me when no one else could. Then the time came for me to have heart surgery; there was only a fifty-percent chance that I would make it through the surgery because it was a new procedure and experimental. At the time I was only the second or third person to have this procedure done, they reconstructed the main artery by using an artery from my leg.

I was absolutely terrified when the nurse showed me the intensive care room where I would be the next day after the surgery. Once again Dr. Vincent took the time to reassure me that everything would be all right. I had a lot of confidence and trust in Dr. Vincent; he was the most caring man I have ever known. He came to see me after the surgery, which was extremely painful but very successful, and he was so kind and brought me a stuffed animal. I remember I was so thrilled and surprised to get this cute stuffed mouse from Dr. Vincent, I gave him a hug. I guess Dr. Vincent must have known I was feeling very lonely and scared because that stuffed animal really brightened my day. That stuffed animal meant a lot to me.

You see, I had no family or friends visit me while I was in the hospital, except for my Mom, who stayed with me most of the time and she slept in the hospital waiting room. I remember feeling very disappointed that no one came to visit me. I do know one thing; I had a wonderful doctor who took the time to help a scared little girl who felt all alone. This was twenty-eight years ago, and I have a healthy heart thanks to Dr. Vincent and the good Lord. So wherever you are Dr. Vincent, I want to thank you for not only saving my life, but you helped me live a normal productive life, and for showing me that you truly cared. You are a gifted Doctor that has made a big difference in my life, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

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