Physician’s Fund Benefits Children

Dr. Bruce S. Bauer and his wife Sally

Bruce S. Bauer, MD, Chief of the Division of Plastic Surgery and Director of Pediatric Plastic Surgery at NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore), is one of a very few plastic and reconstructive surgeons who has devoted his entire career as a subspecialist in reconstructive surgery for children.

With this specialization he has been instrumental in developing and modifying many of the techniques required for complex reconstructive surgery for congenital and acquired deformities. The training required in this subspecialty is available in a limited number of institutions in the country and world, and efforts to see that his experience gets passed forward to future surgeons has been a major focus for him.

Following a very generous gift from pro golfer Luke Donald and his wife Diane and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI), Dr. Bauer and his wife Sally have given a matching gift to form the Donald-Bauer Fund for Pediatric Plastic Surgery. The Donalds have a child who is a patient of Dr. Bauer and were eager to get involved in starting up the fund, said Dr. Bauer.

The $100,000 fund will support the Division’s fellowship in pediatric plastic surgery.  “Educating future specialists in pediatric plastic surgery is key,” said Dr. Bauer.  The gift will be used to create a digital database of pediatric plastic surgery cases (still in slide format) from the first 20 plus years of pre-, intra- and post-op images taken prior to the current digital age. A small portion of the fund will be used to help defray transportation costs for patients traveling long distances for treatment by Dr. Bauer and his team and who are staying for extended periods at the new Ronald McDonald House Chicago.

Dr. Bauer and his wife were motivated by patients who frequently ask how they can help and the Donald gift was the perfect opportunity to begin the new fund. “Patients want to contribute and this gives them a way to help other children like their own,” he said. “We want this fund to build and keep going, not just for a few years, but into the future.”  In addition, the Bauers have included a $50,000 bequest in their estate plan to benefit the pediatric plastic surgery fund that they’ve created.

“We come from a background of service that says if you’re lucky, it’s important to share and pass it forward,” said Sally Bauer. “This whole idea, once started, just seemed to spiral.  We want to give back and make it easy for others to give as well.”

The Bauers said they have been to the weddings of his infant patients who have stayed in touch over the years. “We get birth notices of patients who are now having babies and lots of Christmas cards from former patients,” said Sally Bauer. This long term perspective on care of the many unique problems treated by Dr. Bauer is getting more and more difficult as health care continues to change, so passing on and building on his experience is ever more important.

Dr. Bauer said that, besides building a legacy, his inspiration for starting the fund and committing to a planned gift was a way to express his gratitude to NorthShore for being so supportive of what he does. “The organization has helped build my practice and our department and it’s my thanks to them for their support.”

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