EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A family in El Paso is the grateful recipient of a life-changing surgery.
Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso received a $50,000 gift from the Melinda and Meyer Marcus Family Foundation that will go to the Pediatric Surgery Excellence Fund at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.
The generous gift was made through the Foundation’s fund with the Paso del Norte Community Foundation that also comes from a special place in the heart.
The gift was made in honor of the care received by “Supa” Luca Martinez, who is the grandson of Melinda and Meyer Marcus, and son of Mila and Carlos Martinez, over the course of a life-changing surgery earlier this year.
“Supa” Luca was born with a thumb duplication on his left hand, a condition called preaxial polydactyly.
He was scheduled for surgery in Dallas but his mom was concerned over complications from the procedure pursuant to travel and COVID-19 precautions. She confided in a family friend and physician who suggested exploring other surgical options with a new surgeon to the region, Shawn Diamond, M.D.
“I chose to move my surgical career to El Paso because of family but wanted to be sure I could practice at a health sciences center that provides the level of care that is expected at any world class institution. I quickly learned that TTUHSC El Paso and Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso stack up against any team across the country,” said Diamond. “My wife is a fourth-generation El Pasoan, and it’s an honor to bring my surgical expertise to the Borderland, El Paso is home.”
Diamond is an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at TTUHSC El Paso who specializes in plastic and reconstructive surgery at TTP El Paso. He graduated medical school from Cornell University, then completed his general surgery training in Santa Barbara, California.
He later joined the Harvard Plastic Surgery Residency where he was awarded the Resident Teacher of the Year award in 2019. Additionally, Diamond served on the Plastic Surgery Executive Committee before being recruited to TTUHSC El Paso.
Moreover, Diamond completed a subspecialty hand and microsurgery training fellowship at the University of California, Irvine.
The Martinez family was thrilled at the news that a surgeon of Diamond’s caliber practices in El Paso.
The timing and opportunity seemed kismet.
“My late father-in-law, Dr. Luis Carlos Martinez, was a very well-known cardiovascular surgeon in El Paso, and so as the son of a surgeon, my husband grew up understanding the importance of access to a great medical care system at home,” said Mila Martinez. “I on the other hand, like most others who didn’t grow up with a doctor in the house, unfortunately didn’t understand this so intently – until our family needed it.”
“Supa” Luca’s surgery was successfully completed in early 2021, with the family, surgeon — and most importantly — the patient thrilled by the outcome.
The family says the Foundation’s gift to TTUHSC El Paso is an expression of their gratitude and a way to pay it forward for future patients.
“It’s important that our community knows that not only do we have incredible, well-sought out specialists locally, but we have equally impressive facilities. Long gone are the days that specialty surgery has to be done away from home, thanks to persistent recruiting and years of hard work from TTUHSC El Paso and their partners,” said Martinez. “Our family appreciates the hard work that’s been done and continues to be done so local families can have exceptional health care at home. We also want to thank Dr. Diamond for giving our little Luca the most beautiful and functioning thumb.”