restore and make whole those parts which
nature or ill fortune have taken away,
not so much to delight the eye
but to buoy up the spirit of the afflicted."
-- Gaspare Tagliacozzi, 1597
So spoke the world's first true plastic surgeon more
than 400 years ago. Tagliacozzi recognized that our perceptions
of ourselves - as well the perceptions of us by others - often
are influenced by our appearances. Who has not wished, at some
point in his/her life, for an improvement of his/her appearance?
And who among us are most sensitive to physical imperfections
and deformities and their corresponding emotional pain, if not
What is PIPSqueaks?
PIPSqueaks is a non-profit corporation established by Dr. Richard
T. Vagley, Medical Director of THE PITTSBURGH INSTITUTE OF PLASTIC
SURGERY (PIPS), to provide necessary plastic surgical care free
of charge or at no direct expense to deserving children, 17 years
of age and younger, of but not limited to the "quad-state" area
(MD, OH, PA, WV).
Why is PIPSqueaks necessary?
Anyone familiar with Pittsburgh knows that the city is a "Medical
Mecca", home to world class medical care. Yet, as convenient as
that care is to all of us geographically, it often is inaccessible
to many of us by virtue of changes in the classification and payment
of that care by health insurers. Most notably, the growth of "Managed
Care", whose thrust is control of health care costs often without
regard to the human consequences of that control, has encouraged
health insurers to reclassify many reconstructive or non-cosmetic
surgical procedures (such as surgical correction of congenital
anomalies or birth defects) as cosmetic surgical procedures, which
in turn justifies denial of coverage of them by health insurers.
Consequently, even those of us who are insured - not to mention
the growing number of us who are not insured - frequently are
unable to obtain necessary plastic surgical care. As is usually
the case in our society, children are hardest hit by this disparity
between availability of and access to necessary plastic surgical
care. PIPSqueaks is one small solution to this unfortunate problem.
PIPSqueaks can't cure all of the world's ills but hopefully can
improve life for a few of our neighbors.
Who benefits by PIPSqueaks?
Obviously the direct beneficiaries of PIPSqueaks are those to
whom PIPSqueaks provides free plastic surgical care. And, of course,
the physicians, nurses and other medical personnel who provide
such services derive personal satisfaction from their charitable
endeavors. But, even society as a whole benefits, since children
whose self-image and self-esteem are improved through correction
of congenital anomalies and other disfiguring diseases/deformities
become better students, better workers and better citizens.
How is PIPSqueaks funded?
Dr. Vagley and the other physicians (pediatricians, anesthesiologists,
etc.) and the hospitals who/which provide care to PIPSqueaks'
patients provide that care free of charge or at no direct expense
to those patients and their families. The administrative costs
related to PIPSqueaks' operations are borne by Dr. Vagley. Tax-deductible
contributions to PIPSqueaks are applied directly to patient care
related services, such as the purchase of "implants" necessary
to correct physical deformities.
How can you help PIPSqueaks?
Simply by "spreading the word". You probably know of someone who
would benefit from the services which PIPSqueaks offers. Share
this information with him/her and his/her family. Dr. Vagley and
the PIPStaff are available at all times, toll-free 1-800-321-PIPS
(1-800-321-7477), to discuss services offered by PIPSqueaks and
PIPS or to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation