Department of Plastic Surgery
Donald J. Sargeant, MD, was born on March 10, 1915, in Moscow, Idaho, the second of four children, to proud parents, Pastor Edwin and Hanna Sargeant. Dr. Sargeant attended Walla Walla College and graduated from Loma Linda University School of Medicine with the Class of 1944B. While at Loma Linda, he met and married Verda White.
After completing an internship, an additional year of surgical residency, and two years in the armed forces, Dr. Sargeant began his international medicine service as the founding medical director at Bella Vista Hospital in Puerto Rico from 1948 to 1950. From this experience he realized the need for complete surgical training. His formal general surgery training resumed at White Memorial Medical Center from 1950 to 1951 and the California Lutheran Hospital from 1951 to 1953.
Dr. Sargeant was the inaugural plastic surgery resident at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) under the tutelage of George Webster, MD. In addition, he was chosen to travel to Uppsala, Sweden, where he became the initial "Tord Skoog, MD, Fellow" in affiliation with the UCLA training program.
The Sargeants were blessed with three children: Bonnie Sargeant Colson, Steven Sargeant, and Jeffrey Sargeant. Upon completing his residency and fellowship, Dr. Sargeant moved to Bakersfield, California, in 1956. Other than a one-year maxillofacial fellowship from 1960 to 1961 with Dr. Wilmer Hansen, MD, in Los Angeles, he practiced the entire gamut of plastic surgery in Bakersfield until 1972.
|The Sargeant and Colson family|
In 1971, while on a trip to England, he received an "SOS" call from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists to help in the Masanga Leprosarium, a 350-bed hospital in Sierra-Leone, West Africa. He stayed for several months caring for leprosy patients, as well as children and adults with cleft-lip deformities. Dr. Sargeant returned to Bakersfield and soon after received a call in November, 1972 to go to the Mwami Hospital, a 155-bed hospital in Zambia, where he stayed for three years until 1975.
In 1976, at age 61, the General Conference again requested his assistance at the new Seventh-day Adventist medical school in Montemorellos, Mexico. Dr. Sargeant not only practiced surgery while at the fledgling medical center but also taught in the anatomy department of the medical school for the next 18 years. Just prior to Dr. Sargeant's retirement at 79 years of age, his wife Verda passed away after a lengthy illness. Retirement led him back to his roots in College Place, Washington, where he recently married MayBelle Rice.
Dr. Sargeant dedicated a total of 24 years to international medical mission service. Through his life example, Dr. Sargeant continues to be a role model for many of his students, residents, and colleagues. He has not only served his God, his country, and his family but also exemplifies the motto of his medical school, 'to make man whole.'