SAN DIEGO–Veronica Renteria has been living with painful infected tonsils for 26 years. This Saturday, she and 28 other San Diegans suffering with pain, injury, and other debilitating conditions will receive life-changing medical treatment for free.

Thanks to Super Saturday Surgery Day, a twice-annual event provided by the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation and Kaiser Permanente. This Saturday Surgery Day, an important part of the Foundation’s Project Access San Diego, will take place at Kaiser Permanente  Garfield Specialty Center, 5893 Copley Dr. in San Diego tomorrow. 

About 150 physicians and staff will volunteer their time and expertise to provide medical care including hernia repairs, gallbladder removals, head and neck, and vascular surgeries for 13 patients. Additionally, 16 patients will receive diagnostic gastrointestinal procedures to prevent colorectal cancer.  The day will also feature a volunteer kick-off breakfast at 6:30 a.m. and include remarks by leaders from Kaiser Permanente, San Diego County Medical Society Foundation and State Senator Joel Anderson – 36th District.

Saturday will mark the 13th Saturday Surgery Day at Kaiser Permanente since Project Access’ inception in December 2009.  Kaiser Permanente provides pro bono care twice each year to low-income and uninsured patients referred through Project Access.  To date, Kaiser Permanente has contributed over $2.4 million in donated services to Project Access San Diego. 

For Veronica Renteria, this is the hope she has been waiting for that started more than two decades ago. Renteria has suffered from recurrent tonsil infections since she was a little girl.  The infections and discomfort have prohibited her from getting good quality sleep.  Although she is employed, she does not have health insurance or the resources to pay for surgery.  Alex Battaglia, MD, Veronica’s surgeon, will bring much needed comfort and relief through medical care.

“Project Access San Diego has been laser focused on enhancing the lives of underinsured or uninsured San Diegans,” said Barbara Mandel, executive director of the San Diego County Medical Society Foundation.  “To date, more than 2,400 patients have received free specialty care, including both inpatient and outpatient surgeries and procedures since Project Access San Diego’s inception in December 2008,” Mandel added.

According to Paul Bernstein, MD, FACS, San Diego-area medical director for Southern California Permanente Medical Group, “Our team of dedicated physicians routinely find Saturday Surgery Day one of the most rewarding programs of the year.  Our goal is to do everything in our power to enhance the lives of those who are ill or injured. Saturday Surgery Day provides us with the ability to do just that – to use our talents to give back to San Diegans in need.” 

To qualify for Project Access San Diego’s Saturday Surgery Day an individual must live in San Diego County, be low-income, ineligible for public health programs, and be referred by their primary care physician.  

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