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Needy San Diegans Get Free Surgeries

Photo caption: Surgeons operate on a patient, on June 6, 2010.

Photo credit: Andy G / flickr

Surgeons operate on a patient, on June 6, 2010.

Needy San Diegans Get Free Surgeries


Barbara Mandel, executive director, San Diego County Medical Society Foundation

Patricia Coleman, recipient of free surgery


Eight uninsured San Diegans will get their hernias fixed for free on Saturday. Some of the patients have been living with the painful medical condition for seven years.

The San Diego Medical Society Foundation reaches out each year to the community to offer free medical care for those in need.

“Of the about 850 people we take care of every year, about 30 percent require surgery,” the foundation's executive director, Barbara Mandel, said.

The San Diego County Medical Society Foundation stages these Saturday Surgery Days about four times a year. It's part of the group’s effort to help poor San Diegans with unmet medical needs and is a way to help medical facilities meet their public service goals.

Carlsbad Surgery Center is providing the venue, and a group of surgeons, nurses and other medical professional are donating their time.

Patricia Coleman got a kidney stone treated as part of the program in 2013.

“You can’t imagine the pain,” Coleman said. “Throwing up because it was so bad. It was horrible. They changed my life.”

About 200,000 adults in San Diego County remain uninsured. About half don’t have insurance because they recently lost or switched jobs.

People may also find the cost of dependent health care unaffordable, so their spouses may be covered but they are not.

In 2015, the foundation gave free outpatient surgeries to 190 needy San Diegans.

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