WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2012/2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/92498

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Page 57 of 203

dr. richard ehrlichman From Wellesley to Kabul The local doctor who changed an Afghan orphan's life DIANE SPEARE TRIANT writer PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF DR. RICHARD EHRLICHMAN the procedure was a comparatively simple one: a burn contracture release and skin graft, completed in just over an hour. Dr. Richard Ehrlichman had operated on many such patients in his decades as a plastic surgeon in Wellesley. But this particular 13- year-old patient had no idea that Wellesley, Boston, or perhaps even Massachusetts existed. His name was Mohammed. Three years ago, at age 54, Ehrlichman was an unlikely candidate to enlist in the National Guard; but he did exactly that. Perhaps the sur- geon's annual visits to treat children with cleft lip and palate disfigure- ments in Cartagena, Colombia motivated him. Or perhaps his early training at Brigham and Women's Hospital under Wellesley's Nobel Laureate, Dr. Joseph Murray – who performed the first successful 56 human organ transplant in 1954 and whose early surgical experience involved treating World War II battle wounds – influenced the decision. Ehrlichman says only that his decision was made as he reflected on his father, who was at the World War II German surrender at Reims, and then on all the young Americans after 9/11 who had passed up college scholarships and good jobs to join the Army, and thought, "It's not fair for these kids to give up so much and I've given up nothing. " Shipping Out In fall of 2011, word came down that the doctor would deploy to Kabul, Afghanistan, as a Lieutenant Colonel with the Massachusetts 182nd Infantry, serving America since 1636. "We were part of the 26th WellesleyWeston Magazine | winter 2012/2013

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