Members Making a Difference

Rotaplast International  

“For the millions of unimaginably poor and disadvantaged people in the world, anything you can do is more than they would ever have without you.” That is the motto of Dr. Laurence Stone of Doylestown.

For the past three years, Dr. Stone has been volunteering his time with Rotaplast International, a Rotary affiliated organization that sends plastic surgeons and health care professionals to repair cleft lip and palate deformities in children around the world. Having already travelled to Venezuela and Guatemala on Rotaplast mission trips, he is set to return to Venezuela in 2012.

To prepare himself for the trips, Dr. Stone spent a day in the operating room with the chief of pediatric plastic surgery at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Though all surgeries on the mission trips are done by board certified plastic surgeons, Dr. Stone lends his hand to whatever task is needed. His regular duties on the trips include pre-op dental exams, extractions in the operating room, fabricating palatal appliances, oral hygiene instruction and occasionally assisting with surgeries.

Dr. Stone has seen unimaginable tragedy on these trips, including children with not only deformities, but also with severe infections and even bullet wounds. Dr. Stone admits he’s seen more pathology in two weeks of travel to these disadvantaged areas than in his entire 40 years of private practice in the United States. On one of his trips, the entire group of volunteers took up a collection of their own personal money to help a family in dire need of food, housing, antibiotics and surgery.

To his fellow dentists, Dr. Stone says, “Don’t be afraid to get involved. By committing to mission work you may find that it affects your life as much as those you serve. Find an organization that suits your needs and abilities. There are hundreds available through ADA and on the Internet that could use your help.”