Donald Sargeant First Plastic Surgeon in West Africa
Donald John Sargeant, M.D., died March 26, 2006, at 91 after a long career as a plastic surgeon, including 24 years in international medical mission service.
Sargeant graduated from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in 1944 and after an internship, residency and time in the armed forces, he began his international medical service as the founding medical director at Bella Vista Hospital in Puerto Rico from 1948 to 1950. Upon completing his residency and fellowship, Sargeant moved to Bakersfield in 1956, where he practiced until the early 1970s.
In 1971, Sargeant became the first plastic surgeon in the country at the Masanga Leprosarium in Sierra-Leone, West Africa. In 1972, he went to Mwami Hospital in Zambia, where he was also the first plastic surgeon in the country, and stayed for three years. In 1976, at age 61, he accepted a call at the new Seventh-day Adventist medical school in Montemorellos, Mexico. Sargeant not only practiced surgery while at the fledgling medical center, but also taught in the anatomy department for the next 18 years.
While at Loma Linda University he met and married Verda White and they had three children.