Two young Dominican girls and a 12-year-old boy from El Salvador who received heart surgery at Maine Medical Center this year are among the hundreds of children Dr. Reed Quinn has helped at no cost.
Quinn is the state’s only pediatric heart surgeon and founder of the Maine Foundation for Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, which funds six to eight operations in Maine every year. The organization has paid for about 150 surgeries Quinn has performed during nine trips to train doctors in China.
In May, he and his surgical team will travel to Kenya for the first time.
Quinn is the former president of the Mormon Church’s Augusta stake and the father of six children, ages 10 to 34.
A native of West Point, N.Y., he came to Maine in 1992 and has been the head of cardiac surgery at Maine Medical for eight years.
Quinn’s foreign patients have included a 7-year-old from Cameroon and a 5-year-old from Iraq who made headlines in 1997 and 2005, respectively, when they came to Maine for heart surgery. Most of his patients, however, are local, and of all ages.
“We’ve never not operated on anybody in the state that has needed it,” he said.
Quinn was inspired to go into pediatric heart surgery in his third year of medical school, after meeting a sick toddler who died from her heart condition. Since then, he’s vowed to use his skills to help anyone in his path.
“I don’t know who pays me and who doesn’t, and I really don’t care,” he said.