Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Africa—these are just a few of the countries Hudson Valley Hospital Center’s Dr. Michael Koch has visited to do reconstructive plastic surgery on children and adults.
“We teach local surgeons how to do the procedures and then perform them on patients,” said the board certified plastic surgeon from Mt. Kisco. Koch is a plastic surgeon at Hudson Valley Hospital Center's Institute for Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery in Peekskill.
On many of his travels, which have been sponsored by organizations such as Healing the Children and the Health and Humanitarian Aid Foundation, he has treated cleft palates, cleft lips and local trauma injuries.
When Koch was in Ghana this past May, he was even able to save the arm of a woman who suffered a machete attack.
“She was in much better shape after so she didn’t have to have an amputation,” he said. “It was a tremendous feeling of accomplishment for the whole team that helped me.”
Koch said he usually goes on his medical outreach trips, which he started taking in 1998, for about two weeks at a time. There, he and his team work at local hospitals to treat as many patients as possible.
Koch's goal is to use his time abroad as efficiently as possible, which has been made easier by technology, he said. Local surgeons can now email him pictures of the patients in need of his services along with descriptions of what happened to them. That way, Koch can get a priority list together to tackle what needs to be done when he arrives.
“I keep going on these trips so I can provide care in hospitals that don’t have the opportunity to practice what we do over here,” he said.
Next year, Koch hopes to help treat patients in the Philippines for his second time since 1998.