by the founder
“I saw an angel in the stone and I carved it to set him free”
The PSVDV Foundation is a dream come trough for me.
The first time I was exposed to violent trauma caused by physical abuse was during my voluntary missions to South and Central America. My work there focused mainly on helping children affected by congenital abnormalities, but periodically, I would encounter patients whose injuries were caused by physical abuse. I was enraged at the perpetrators of this violence and became very passionate about helping these victims. Many of the injuries these victims sustained were permanent? causing them to suffer physically and emotionally long after the original trauma had taken place. Victims who try to rebuild their lives can be anchored to the original trauma just by looking in the mirror! Helping these victims, as well as helping the children with congenital anomalies, have been the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. I believe that if I can improve, sometimes even slightly, the physical stigmata on the abused victim’s face, maybe, just maybe, that might help them to feel better about themselves and consequently help move them forward in the healing process.
When I returned to the U.S. after each mission, I would become reimmersed in my Beverly Hills’s cosmetic practice. The demands of a busy practice, and raising three children with my wife Carrie, made it easy to lose touch with my extraordinary experience in South and Central America. It was not until several years later, when I had my first encounter with a victim of domestic violence right here in California, that I realized the scope of this problem here in America. This patient was thrown against a glass door by her exabusive husband, sustaining facial trauma that resulted in a visible scar across the left side of her face. Now in a new relationship, this woman wanted to put the past behind her and asked me for help. Through a reconstructive facial procedure, I was able to make the scar less visible, thereby helping her to move on with her life. This encounter reignited my passion, and coupled with the realization that even a little help could change their lives, made me realize that I, along with other plastic and reconstructive surgeons, have a unique opportunity to help these victims. Whether these victims have facial trauma or trauma to a different part of their body, many of these patients can be helped. The PSVDV Foundation is a team effort and could not exist without the help of each of its members, but we are not miracle workers.
Unfortunately, some injuries may be too severe to be helped by surgery. In fact, much of the time the trauma is so extreme that there is little help at all so it is not my intention or the intention of the Foundation to give false hope to already psychologically traumatized patients. Our promise is that we will do anything that in our professional judgment has a chance of improving the often complex injuries. The doctors in the VDVPS Foundation are not the only physicians doing probono work. There are many gifted physicians in every specialty and in every part of the world who dedicate themselves to helping patients in need. We here at the VDVPS Foundation, recognize their work and credit them with being our inspiration.
Gaspare Tagliacozzi, one of the fathers of plastic surgery, said in 1597:
“We restore, rebuild, and make whole those parts which nature hath given, but which
fortune has taken away. Not so much that it may delight the eye, but that it might buoy up
the spirit, and help the mind of the afflicted.”
This remains, to date, my favorite quote
Renato Calabria, M.D.