(CHICAGO, IL) – An 80-year-old man recently showed up at a OnePatient clinic in Chicago. He had been pushed down the stairs of his apartment building and suffered a broken arm. With his good arm, he held out a cup of coins and said that’s all he could afford to pay. Regardless of their ability to pay, Dr. Daniel Ivankovich welcomes all patients who need help.
There are 206 bones in the human body, and Dr. Ivankovich has treated thousands of them during his 20-year medical career as an orthopedic surgeon. In 2010, he co-founded the non-profit OnePatient Global Health Initiative. He and his medical team, known as “The Bone Squad,” perform more than 600 surgical procedures a year, healing 100,000 local people with a variety of injuries in three clinics across Chicago.
“Every day we operate and provide care to immigrants and people of minority populations who are unfortunately ignored by the medical system, discriminated against by insurance companies, or have no insurance,” he said. “There is a disparity in the city for people to get basic medical care.”
Dr. Ivankovich relates to his patients on many levels. An immigrant himself, he was born in Croatia and moved to Chicago with his family as a young boy. In high school he excelled at basketball, earning a college scholarship until a knee injury ended his athletic career and required him to eventually undergo 13 surgical procedures. He turned in his sneakers for scrubs, went to medical school, and became a surgeon in the city where his family made their home.
Dr. Ivankovich vows to treat patients in his own backyard regardless of their ability pay. They arrive with gunshot wounds, worn joints, crooked spines, fractures and other injuries, which, if left untreated, could be life-threatening.
“My priorities are here in Chicago,” he said. “This is my community and I took an oath to help people who need it most. I work every day to give hope to a hopeless situation. It’s incredible when you see people taking their lives back and owning their health and wellness. There’s no greater feeling in the world.”
The Community Impact Award is presented by Northern Trust to an individual(s) who displays leadership and commitment to his or her community by making a positive, noticeable and significant impact in society.
The American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois is honoring local people who demonstrated acts of heroism in the community at the organization’s 14th annual Heroes Breakfast, Thursday, April 28 at the Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan Ave. For more information: http://www.redcross.org/news/article/local/il/chicago/American-Red-Cross-Honors-Local-Heroes.
Written by: Patricia Kemp, Communications Manager, American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois