Murthy praises doc who made a difference
After spending about 12 minutes urging attendees at a recent American Public Health Association meeting to go forth and do great things, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy used the story of high school student Jill Stewart as an example of how one person can make a difference.
As class president in 1987 at Hamilton Heights High School in Arcadia, Ind., Stewart persuaded school officials to have medical experts talk to students in advance of a new classmate’s arrival. The new student was AIDS patient Ryan White, who had been subjected to harassment at his hometown school in Kokomo, Ind. Because of Stewart’s efforts, White was welcomed, Murthy said.
What wasn’t said, however, was that Stewart—now Dr. Jill Waibel, owner and medical director of the Miami (Fla.) Dermatology and Laser Institute—has continued on the path she started down in high school. Waibel, who said she was unaware that her high school story would be mentioned in Murthy’s speech, was in the news again last month for making a difference.
This time it was for treating the burn scars on the back of Kim Phuc, who was photographed 43 years ago as a 9-year-old girl screaming in pain from a napalm attack during the Vietnam War.
“It’s an honor to treat her and be part of this journey in history,” Waibel told the Miami Herald.
Above, Jill Stewart and Ryan White went to Washington to testify before an AIDS commission in 1988. At right, Stewart, now Dr. Jill Waibel, examines Kim Phuc before her laser treatments.