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After 30 Years Of Surgeries, Doctor And Patient Dance

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After 30 Years Of Surgeries, Doctor And Patient Dance

After 30 Years Of Surgeries, Doctor And Patient Dance

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It is Friday morning, which is when we hear from StoryCorps. People across this country are sitting down to speak with the most important people in their lives, asking questions, hearing stories, finding out things they always wanted to know. And today, we have a conversation between a woman and her surgeon. Marcela Gaviria survived a childhood cancer that nearly took her leg. She spent the last 30 years dealing with complications from that illness, and in all that time, she stuck with the same doctor, Dempsey Springfield.

MARCELA GAVIRIA: I think he started taking care of me when I was 12.

DEMPSEY SPRINGFIELD: You were in the hospital to have a bone transplant.

GAVIRIA: I was pretty scared, I remember, and I think I survived a very sort of traumatic moment because you were so kind. What I remember about you were your bow ties. You just looked like such a Southern gentleman, and you'd show up every morning with such a big smile. And you were so warm and gentle, and I wanted to get better for you. I wanted your surgery to work on me.

SPRINGFIELD: I really enjoy taking care of patients. That's probably what came across.

GAVIRIA: Well, I'd hate to count the amount of times you've operated on me, but every scar on my leg, I think, has something to do with you.

SPRINGFIELD: Well, I keep moving, and you keep following.

GAVIRIA: Because I don't trust others doctors as much. And it's funny, because when I was a kid, I would complain all the time about how I'd never get married.

SPRINGFIELD: I remember very distinctly, we would have conversations about this.

GAVIRIA: Yeah, because, you know, I always wondered how difficult it would be for someone to sign up to my life. Well, I got married this year, and I wanted you to have the first dance. And that was just a way of celebrating the fact that a lot of what I'm able to do nowadays is because of your care.

SPRINGFIELD: Your wedding's the first wedding of a patient that I have ever gone to. So it's so rewarding to see that all of that, you know, getting up before the sun comes up to get to the hospital pays off. It wasn't squandered.

GAVIRIA: Well, I have a great surgeon that really cared to get it right. It's a beautiful thing. Thank you for doing all you did.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

INSKEEP: Marcela Gaviria with her longtime surgeon, Dr. Dempsey Springfield, in Boston, Massachusetts. Their conversation will be archived along with all StoryCorps interviews at the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress. And the StoryCorps podcast is at npr.org.

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