Hometown Hero--Dr. Thomas Yeh

Dr. Thomas Yeh
Dr. Thomas Yeh

Recently, the man who performed the first open-heart surgery in the region was recognized by the Georgia Medical Society for his innovations as a physician. Dr. Thomas Yeh has been saving lives for more than 50 years.

In 1967, Dr. Yeh performed the first-open heart surgery in the region at a modest little medical facility called Memorial Hospital. By today's standards, the conditions were unquestionably primitive, but Dr. Yeh's commitment to his patients made up for any lack of technology.

In almost 54 years of practice, Dr. Yeh figures he's done over 10,000 surgeries. Ten thousand people whose health he tried to improve, whose lives he tried to save.

"They put their life in my hands," he said. "I have to do my best."

Hard to imagine that he would have time for much else, but he and his wife Doris also raised three children--all doctors themselves now.

His energy is legendary. Now, at 76 years old, Dr. Yeh is willing to share his secret to longevity: "Do twice as much and you will have lived twice as long," he says.

As proof he offers his budding art career. Just two years ago he started working with water colors and now his paintings are amazing, not just for their brilliance but also because of the sheer number of them. His favorites are the ones of his grandchildren.

Last month, he was recognized for his innovations as a physician by the Georgia Medical Society, a tribute that recognized the way he approached every patient in his long and illustrious career and the central reason why Dr. Thomas Yeh is this week's Hometown Hero.

If you'd like to nominate a Hometown Hero, you can drop us a line at the station: PO Box 8086, Savannah, GA 31412, or email  rwallace@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Ron Wallace, rwallace@wtoc.com