Superdoc To The Rescue Worldwide
Superdoc To The Rescue Worldwide
By Rena Dictor LeBlanc
When eighteen-month-old Maureen was brought to the Lwala Clinic in Kenya she was near death from extreme malnutrition. The child’s arms and legs were like sticks and her belly was bloated. She was so lethargic she couldn’t hold her head up. Maureen’s mother walked three miles carrying her child to the clinic. It was a last-ditch effort to save her.
The clinic was hardly a place one would expect to find a Los Angeles pediatrician ministering to the desperate needs of patients. Dr. Martina Fuchs immediately took charge of the child’s emergency care. Maureen recovered. Her mother thanked Dr. Fuchs and the clinic staff repeatedly. “Thank you Dr. Martina so that my baby can live,” Beyond the medical care the woman was given food to take home to her family.
Maureen got her second chance at life, as have countless other children and adults worldwide, through the efforts of the dedicated 45-year-old doctor. Dr. Fuchs created and directs the Real Medicine Foundation in West Los Angeles.
The Foundation forms partnerships with individuals and existing organizations in thirteen countries throughout the world. It’s aim is to focus on each person as a whole by providing medical, emotional, economic and social support whenever possible. “We think of it as friends helping friends,” Dr. Fuchs said.
Among the locales where the Foundation aids people are India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda, Peru... It operates with approximately 120 volunteers as well as doctors, nurses, and project coordinators worldwide. The Foundation relies entirely on donations. This spring Dr. Fuchs also started a free allergy and asthma treatment program for children at the Florence Western Medical Center in South Los Angeles.
The doctor’s crusade takes its toll on her at times. In India she cried at the sight of so many desperately poor children. “The most important thing I learned was that when what I’m doing gets too overwhelming I must remind myself, ‘One person at a time, and then move on to the next person.’ That’s how you create a ripple effect. Eventually you reach hundreds of thousands of people around the world.”
She heals her tattered emotions with what she refers to as debriefings. “I just need to talk about it or cry about it with close friends or family. And then I go back and focus on the solutions.”
A striking, slender blonde, Dr. Fuchs looks more like some Hollywood casting director’s take on a superhero medical crusader. She has appeared on television as a host on The Learning Channel’s special “Guardian Angels MD”.
Her humanitarian aid efforts started in 2005 when she decided to drop everything and travel alone to Sri Lanka to provide free medical care for victims of the disastrous tsunami.
Her friends thought she was crazy. She knew she faced danger from politically motivated bombings there, and from deadly diseases that were even more rampant after the devastation. “I was scared, sure,” she admitted. “But, this was too important for me not to go.”
She filled two suitcases with medicine and one with clothes, and caught the next flight out. Along the way she met a carpenter from Australia and a plumber from Scotland who were on their way to help too. Together they opened a clinic. She found other people to help at every turn.
Once she saw what a difference her efforts made she decided to give up her medical practice and continue her humanitarian aid full time. The Foundation was established in August of 2005. “My hope is to keep growing as we have been growing, and raising funds to support the Foundation,” she said.
Dr. Fuchs had her own second chance a few years back. She was in a serious car accident on the freeway in the rain. It was like a near death experience for her. Twenty bones were broken in her right foot. But, due to an outstanding surgeon she recovered.
The experience created a new sense of urgency in her. life. “You know that you don’t have time forever,” she said. “Having this time, and to be able to do what I’m doing is a gift.”
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