Amazing Dad: Andy Moore

Filed under: Amazing Parents

Dr. Andy Moore, second from left, with his extended family in Lexington, Kentucky. Credit: Courtesy of Cecilia Hill

Amazing Dad: Dr. Andy Moore, founder of Surgery on Sunday, a program that offers free surgical care to uninsured patients in Kentucky on the third Sunday of every month

Andy's Family: Wife: Kitty, married 36 years; Kids: Andrew, 34, Cecilia, 32, and McKay, 25; Grandkids: Lee, 2½ , Gavin, 2 months, and one on the way

Andy Lives In: Lexington, Kentucky

Why Andy Is Amazing: They're what Dr. Andy Moore refers to as the "working poor." When he started practicing medicine 26 years ago, they were the farmers, the waitresses, the sales clerks. They paid their taxes and worked hard, but when it came to medical care, they are the ones who fell through the cracks. They were the ones who couldn't afford health insurance. When Andy would have a patient who couldn't afford medical care, he would make a call to the hospital and say, "I'm going to be taking care of this person for free and I expect you to do the same." But as hospital's financial coffers continued to get smaller, it was getting more and more difficult for Andy to take care of them.

About 15 years ago, he started thinking about how he could care for these people in a more organized fashion. The plastic surgeon's first few attempts were unsuccessful. About five years ago, however, he finally got the formula right and Surgery on Sunday (SOS) was born.

Since 2005, he and his volunteer medical personnel have cared for some 3,500 patients. SOS employs a whole spectrum of specialists including neurosurgeons, ophthalmologists, ear-nose-throat specialists and gynecologists. Everything is free, including the pre-operative and post-operative care, and they are treated like any paying patient, says Andy.

Since its inception, SOS has cared for people in 120 counties in Kentucky and has even taken people from Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, Ohio and Tennessee.

"When we first started out we were just going to take care of central Kentucky and Lexington and the surrounding counties," he says. "But it's very difficult to turn down someone who walks into your office and really needs your help."

They also care for plenty of infants and kids, the most common procedures being the insertion of ear tubes and tonsillectomies.

"Once the new health care reform plan goes into effect, the number of uninsured people will go down from 52 million to 20 million," says Andy, adding that he's going to continue to work to help those 20 million who will not be served by the new bill. At any given time there are still 1,500 people on SOS's waiting list and some of them might wait over a year to finally get care. Andy says he'd like to increase it to two Sundays a month so he can help more people.

"Presently we're just doing it once a month in our community, but we'd like to step it up to twice a month," he says. "We've gotten each of the three local hospitals to agree to do an additional Sunday. We also have a commitment from SCA [Surgical Care Affiliates], the parent company of where we work out of now, to do this nationally ... I think that's going to make a huge impact."

Andy's Daughter Cecilia Says: "My dad is a hard worker and he's instilled that 'working spirit' in us. He's a dad who's always there, a dad who shows up. He's very involved with family, and he's passed that along to us. He's also a great grandfather. He's always calling to see if he can babysit."

Recognition: 2010 CNN Hero

Andy's Guilty Pleasures: He likes to work outside in the garden. He also owns a small farm and is in the process of building a cabin on it. "He loves to cook," says his daughter Cecilia. "But he's a messy cook; he likes to use every pot in the kitchen."

Andy's Best Advice: "Don't quit. A lot of people are going to tell you that you're nuts for doing it. But if you see a problem and think you have a solution for it, hang in there [and] you'll find a way to make it work. My personal process took over 15 years to do. After recognizing what I thought the answer was, it took me a long time. You have to recognize you're not going to have the full skill set to pull this off. We had to get lawyers and social workers. I needed a grant writer. I thought I had all those skills, but obviously I don't. I've been fortunate enough to have those people step up and make this a success. A lot of SOS has been focused on me. That's really not the case. I thought of the name and initiated this, but we have more than 400 volunteers and they're the people who actually make it happen."

Related: Amazing Dad: Dan Zanes

Want to see who else made the list? Click here for the rest of AOL's 2010 Amazing Dads!


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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.