Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso receives $50k gift from thankful El Paso family

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, its’ “Supa” Luca! During a family fun event, Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso received a $50,000 gift from the Melinda and Meyer Marcus Family Foundation, through their fund with the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, toward the Pediatric Surgery Excellence Fund at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

The gift was made in honor of the world-class patient care received by “Supa” Luca Martinez, grandson of Melinda and Meyer Marcus, and son of Mila and Carlos Martinez, during a life-changing surgery earlier this year. 

“Supa” Luca was born with preaxial polydactyly, or thumb duplication, on his left hand. He was scheduled for surgery in Dallas, Texas, but his mother worried about the complications of the procedure due to travel and COVID-19 precautions.

She spoke with a family friend and doctor who suggested exploring different surgical options with a new surgeon in the El Paso region, Shawn Diamond, M.D.

Dr. Diamond is an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at TTUHSC El Paso and specializes in plastic and reconstructive surgery as a provider at TTP El Paso. He graduated from medical school at Cornell University and completed general surgery training in Santa Barbara, California.

He joined the Harvard Plastic Surgery Residency and was awarded the Resident Teacher of the Year award in 2019. Dr. Diamond also served on the Plastic Surgery Executive Committee before he was recruited to TTUHSC El Paso. He completed a subspecialty hand and microsurgery training fellowship at the University of California, Irvine.

“I chose to move my surgical career to El Paso because of family but wanted to be sure I could practice at a health sciences center that provides the level of care that is expected at any world class institution. I quickly learned that TTUHSC El Paso and Texas Tech Physicians of El Paso stack up against any team across the country,” said Dr. Diamond. “My wife is a fourth-generation El Pasoan, and it’s an honor to bring my surgical expertise to the Borderland, El Paso is home.” 

The Martinez family was thrilled to learn that a world-renowned surgeon was practicing medicine in the El Paso community and would be able to help their son. 

“My late father-in-law, Dr. Luis Carlos Martinez, was a very well-known cardiovascular surgeon in El Paso, and so as the son of a surgeon, my husband grew up understanding the importance of access to a great medical care system at home,” said Mila Martinez. “I on the other hand, like most others who didn’t grow up with a doctor in the house, unfortunately didn’t understand this so intently – until our family needed it.” 

“Supa” Luca’s surgery was successfully completed in early 2021; the family, patient and surgeon were thrilled with the results. Their gift to TTUHSC El Paso was a way to express gratitude for the care they received and provide a fund that advances the work of Dr. Diamond for future patients. 

“It’s important that our community knows that not only do we have incredible, well-sought out specialists locally, but we have equally impressive facilities. Long gone are the days that specialty surgery has to be done away from home, thanks to persistent recruiting and years of hard work from TTUHSC El Paso and their partners,” said Martinez. 

“Our family appreciates the hard work that’s been done and continues to be done so local families can have exceptional health care at home. We also want to thank Dr. Diamond for giving our little Luca the most beautiful and functioning thumb.” 

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