Today, the world has lost a wonderful person. Dr. Martha MacGuffie, born January 22, 1924, died March 7th, 2011. She was 87 years old. This woman was a pioneering surgeon, who not only practiced in Rockland County, NY but also in the war zones of Africa. She was a humanitarian. She was one of the first female plastic surgeons in the nation, retiring in 2008, where she practiced, for more than 50 years. When one of her family members, died from AIDS, contracted when the blood supplies were not yet screened for AIDS, she converted her grief to helping raise money to help pay for medication and supplies and to help build hospitals and orphanages for children who have lost parents to AIDS and other diseases. More than 20 years ago, she founded the Society for Hospital and Resources Exchange (SHARE), to promote care in Africa. I remember how she would often travel there to volunteer her time to treat children with cleft palette and cleft lip and other deformities.
This woman changed many lives and made a big difference, in the world.
I met Dr. MacGuffie, in the winter of 2000. I had needed surgery and my doctor had immediately recommended me, to her. I remember driving up to her castle-like home, in Nyack, NY. It was a beautiful house with her Unicorns, hidden everywhere. When I entered the waiting room, there were old books and architecture everywhere. I was greeted by her friendly receptionist and her two friendly, well behaved dogs (It was after hours but she was willing to see me because it was the only time I could meet.). I remember that those two dogs, were the first dogs my mother ever willing pet. I never met a doctor, who was quite like her. I was 20, at that time, already set on going into medicine and in meeting her, I was even more inspired. She treated me with utmost kindness and respect, offering me advise on my medical education, after our visit was done. Before, during and after my surgery, she advocated, against my insurance to let me stay overnight in the hospital, to make sure I had proper care and attention. Even after my surgery, she made kept up with me (more than I had seen with any other doctor) to make sure that all was well.
Yes, the surgery did change my life but more importantly, being her patient and getting to know her more, changed my outlook on how I want to be a doctor. Her generous spirit and intelligence was an inspiration. I can only hope to be like her, one day. I still to this day, consider her my hero and mentor.
Thank you Dr. Martha MacGuffie, for everything you have done for the world and for me. You will be missed and will always be in my heart.
Viewing and Funeral:
A viewing will be held from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m.
March 18 at
Hannemann Funeral Home,
88 S. Broadway, Nyack.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m.
March 19 at
Grace Episcopal Church,
130 First Ave., Nyack.