Doruk Ozgediz, MD, is a pediatric general surgeon who performs a wide range of operations on patients, including babies and adults with pediatric conditions, who have problems ranging from birth defects to traumatic injuries to cancer.
“Nobody wants to see a surgeon, especially for their child. But being able to offer comfort and reassurance, and to share what we know in service of helping their child get better—that’s a special thing,” Dr. Ozgediz says.
About 15 years ago, when he was a surgical trainee, Dr. Ozgediz began traveling to Uganda, where resources for surgery are extremely limited, and children wait years for diagnoses and treatments that are usually available in infancy in the United States. He helped start a nonprofit organization to train providers, improve hospitals and operating suites, and build the country’s capacity to deliver surgical care to those who need it. Now he travels to Uganda a few months each year for this work. “This has been an ongoing passion of mine,” says Dr. Ozgediz.
An associate professor of surgery (pediatric) at Yale School of Medicine, Dr. Ozgediz says his work in Uganda has had a positive impact on his Yale Medicine practice. He is grateful for resources that he might otherwise have taken for granted. “For some things, however, you realize you can actually deliver care just as effectively in a more cost-conscious manner.”
He also feels his background makes him a better listener. “The world is more of a global place,” says Dr. Ozgediz, and doctors at Yale treat patients from all socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicities, many of whom come with different cultural beliefs and expectations of the health system. “Treatment is not just about providing them with information. We need to adapt our care based on the families’ needs or situation—whatever that may be,” he says.