Frederick County residents who need stitches on a small laceration might feel wary to go to the emergency room during a pandemic – for fear of spreading or contracting the virus, or simply trying to ensure the hospital are not overwhelmed.
Now they can go to Dr. Guy Cappuccino, who has been providing small emergency services for Frederick County residents out of his plastic surgery practice.
Cappuccino’s practice had been mostly quiet in the last several weeks, after Gov. Larry Hogan ordered all elective surgeries to be postponed until further notice. The vast majority of Cappuccino’s procedures are elective, so he suddenly found himself with a lot of time on his hands.
“So it really effectively shut my practice down which… that was bad enough, but I really felt like I wanted to help,” he said.
Cappuccino sent out an email blast and posted on Facebook about his emergency services. While he didn’t have many clients at first, as the weeks went on, he found himself giving stitches to about a person per day.
“People are really happy to have this service. because they’re rightfully scared to have to go to the hospital at this point,” he said. “Especially for something minor.”
Most of the clients had heard about Cappuccino’s services through their neighbors and friends, not through social media.
“If you have a message that is worth sharing, it will be shared,” he said. “It’s very impressive, the power of it.”
Cory Watson, 6, needed stitches after the family dog scratched his cheek. The laceration was pretty deep, and his mother, Lisa Watson knew he would need stitches.
She had seen Dr. Cappuccino on Facebook and called his office to ask about bringing Cory in. Even with Dr. Cappuccino back at work with regular patients, they found time to tend to Cory, who received 13 stitches.
Cappuccino has a setup in his office that allows the patient, many of whom are children, to watch Netflix while he completes the procedure.
“The staff was amazing, Dr. Cappuccino was amazing, and for a 6-year-old to be able to walk into an office, get stitches, smile when he comes out, and be excited about a follow up is pretty unheard of,” Watson said.
Dr. Cappuccino’s office does not take health insurance besides Medicaid, but he has set up a system where he charges what the lowest out of pocket cost would be for an emergency room visit for the patient’s insurance.
“Honestly the care that we received was 100 percent worth everything that we paid out of pocket for,” Watson said. “The staff was amazing, Dr. Cappuccino was amazing.”
Dr. Cappuccino said he will continue to offer service as long as he feels necessary. For him, it’s been a rewarding experience.
“It had kind of reintroduced this element of trauma, and acute plastic surgery care that I hadn’t really done in a few years and I really missed,” he said. “So for me it’s been very fulfilling to be able to help people, and especially people in my own community where I live and work.”