Dr. Andrew Moore II, a Lexington plastic surgeon, was presented with the 2015 Kentucky Humanitarian Award at the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards on Sept. 19 in Louisville. Moore was chosen for founding Surgery on Sunday, a program for Kentuckians who cannot afford medical services.
A third-generation physician, Moore, 66, started in practice with his father, the first plastic surgeon in Lexington. He retired in April from Plastic Surgeons of Lexington, which continues to be a family business.
Surgery on Sunday was created in the pre-Obamacare era, when more people had no health insurance, Moore said. Now, though more people have insurance, they "are terribly underinsured," Moore said. That includes those on some high-deductible policies, he said.
When he started as a doctor, Moore believed his mission to be to take the Hippocratic Oath by the letter, taking care of patients regardless of ability to pay, he said.
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As he continued to practice medicine, "I thought it was imperative we do this in a more organized fashion."
"Most of these people are working poor," he said of the Surgery on Sunday patients, which are often referred by local social service organizations. "They want to get back to work but they just don't have the ability. We've had a couple of kids we've done hernia surgery on who wanted to go into the Army."
Procedures may include anything from hernia and gall blader surgery to orthopedic surgery, ear/nose/throat work and ob/gyn care, Moore said, "pretty much anything you can do as an outpatient."
About 80 medical volunteers will staff a typical Sunday shift, he said, with about 10-15 patients being helped every other month. The waiting list, once higher, is down to about 50, Moore said.
Moore and his team of physicians, anesthesiologists, nurses and administrative personnel have donated nearly 90,000 hours of service since the organization was founded in 2005.
Moore is the third recipient of the Humanitarian Award. The 2013 Humanitarian Award recipient was Mark Hogg, founder and CEO of Louisville based WaterStep, which offers products for making water safe to drink in developing countries or to fix water wells, with all proceeds supporting WaterStep's mission to save lives with safe water.
The 2014 recipients were Robert and Deborah Blair, founders of the West End School in Louisville. West End School is a free, private, pre-K through eighth grade school for boys from low-income families who are capable of doing academic work at grade level or above and would benefit from a safe environment and high expectations.
Of Surgery on Sunday and his 2015 honor Moore said: "The joy in what we do is we're changing their lives. Without this program, they would be stuck in a failed health care system. They can be productive citizens after a little bump in the road."