dental school

The Girl He Couldn’t Turn Away

Leon Klempner couldn’t say no to Saline Atieno.

The New York orthodontist had been on medical missions all over the world for 15 years, helping plastic surgeons repair cleft lips and palates and related problems. The most devastating part, he says, was turning away children whose conditions were so severe—burns, craniofacial deformities from disease and infection—that they could not be treated during a two-week mission. “They come because it is really their last hope,” says Klempner, DG77. “And when they are turned away, there is no place else for them to go. It’s heartbreaking.”