The pattern of our tapestry has been set but the design becomes more intricate as we visit Dr. Garfein’s office when he receives a phone call from his former Chief at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Dr. Julian Pribaz. Dr. Pribaz, a reconstructive surgeon who is described by Dr. Garfein as a brilliant man and a great teacher, told Garfein the following story:
He had been asked by a colleague to evaluate a young man during his recent trip to Israel. This 22-year old man, named Avi Makonad, has quite a dramatic story. When he was a young boy and living in Ethiopia, he fell into a fire and had to walk for 12 hours with his head and chest wrapped in wet towels to find medical assistance. Much of his face is severely deformed because of the fourth degree burns (down to the bone) he sustained in the accident. He has had several attempts at skin grafting over the years but none has been effective in correcting the deformities.
The young man immigrated to Israel because he happened to be Jewish, and there he attempted to join the Israeli army as a volunteer. But because of his disfigurement he was refused. He persisted and was finally accepted into the army where he served two years. Following his service, he found it impossible to find work because of his physical appearance.
Dr. Pribaz explained that life was looking bleak for this brave young man, but after examining him, Dr. Pribaz expressed his belief that Avi’s appearance could be greatly improved by further surgery. Because the surgery would be extremely complex, Dr. Pribaz explained that it was best performed in a major medical center like the Brigham and Women’s in Boston. Dr. Pribaz was willing to perform the surgery pro bono but there was still the issues of hospital costs and travel expenses.