Bob Davis: A surgeon’s story

Retired York surgeon Bob Davis, 81, has spent most of his life helping people all over the world.

Presented by: SpiriTrust Lutheran
Written by: Anthony Machcinski
Bob Davis (Photo by Paul Chaplin for Our York Media)

Bob Davis can share a lot about his days as a surgeon. The retired York doctor’s stories span decades and continents.  

Here’s one that’s stuck with him: Back in the early 90s in Vietnam, Bob and his team finished operating on a young girl born with clefts on both sides of her mouth. When they brought her to her father, he refused to take her. 

“That is not my daughter,” the man insisted.  

But when Bob showed him pre- and post-operation photos, the man wept tears of joy. The doctors cried with him. 

Over the past 27 years, Bob has made more than 65 trips to third-world countries helping children like the girl in Vietnam. Often, kids born with facial deformities become social outcast. They’re sometimes orphaned or can’t get jobs when they grow up. 

“These birth defects are life-changing when you can correct them,” Bob says. “Being able to fix them and get them back into a normal way of life is really satisfying.”

I just don’t like to sit still. I like to always have a project I’m working on.

Bob Davis

Bob, 81, was born in Philadelphia and moved to the York area in the 1960s, arriving first as an intern before becoming a resident surgeon at the hospital for four years. 

In 1968, the military drafted him into the Navy, where he spent two years serving as a general surgeon during the Vietnam War. 

Bob came back to York County and worked at York Hospital as a plastic surgeon for the next 30-some years. He retired in 2002.  

As he nears his 82nd birthday, Bob isn’t slowing down. He’s planning a mission trip to India in January, and he still volunteers locally in several organizations through Aldersgate United Methodist Church in York Township. 

“I just don’t like to sit still,” Bob says. “I like to always have a project I’m working on.” 

Sponsored by

SpiriTrust Lutheran provides exceptional health, human and senior living services by supporting persons in achieving an optimal quality of life.
1050 Pennsylvania Ave. York, PA 17404

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