Do no harm; it's one of the more famous pieces of the Hippocratic Oath. But one doctor is taking a step beyond that oath in doing good for those in need.
By day, Dr. Earl Stoddard treats patients at the Idaho Skin Institute.
“My specialty is Dermatology and Mohs Surgery, it’s a special type of skin cancer surgery,” Dr. Stoddard said.
Since opening his practice in 2005, he's also donated his time to help patients with the Pocatello Free Clinic.
“Whether it be a chronic rash of the skin or a skin cancer that needs surgical treatment, we treat whatever,” said Dr. Stoddard.
But of those dozens he has seen over the years, it's the story of a recently treated patient that stands out.
“This particular patient had a large skin cancer that was deforming his lower lip,” Dr. Stoddard said. “He had been living in a van for several months traveling from town to town. He was embarrassed to go out into the community. He came here and we performed a procedure called Mohs Micrographic Surgery, which allows us to achieve the highest care rate possible for skin cancer while also minimizing scarring. The last I saw him a month or two ago, he was doing fantastic and had a whole new outlook on life.”
Even though he's been giving of his time and effort since practicing medicine, Dr. Stoddard says he's not alone in his efforts.
“If you were to go around and poll all of the physicians in this community, I think you’d be surprised how much they are helping their patients,” said Dr. Stoddard, “whether they come from the Free Clinic or just someone off the street who is in need of health care but doesn’t have the means to pay for it.”
As to why you should give back, Dr. Stoddard says it's a win-win.
“I think if someone is concerned about the time or maybe the resources they might lose by performing these types of services, they’re missing the point,” Dr. Stoddard said. “Number one, you help someone and that feels great but that person is going to sing your praises to so many people that it actually pays us back tenfold.”
If you would like to step up and help out in your community you can find a list of volunteer opportunities across east Idaho at seidahovolunteer.org