Leading By Example: Meet Shriners Children's Boston Plastic Surgeon Daniel Driscoll, M.D.
Daniel Driscoll, M.D., has cared for children from all over the world, specializing in pediatric reconstructive surgery for burn injuries and congenital conditions. A Shriner himself, he is deeply committed to the mission of Shriners Children’s, and to teaching the next generation of surgeons about the complexities of burn reconstruction.
Dr. Driscoll grew up north of Boston and received an early introduction to the field of medicine when he regularly accompanied his father, a family physician, on house calls. He gained further exposure to the hospital setting when his father helped him find work as a janitor at Hunt Hospital in Danvers.
After graduating from Dartmouth College and Brown University Medical School, Dr. Driscoll trained at Massachusetts General Hospital in general and plastic surgery. It was there that he met Matthias Donelan, M.D., a pioneering plastic surgeon at Shriners Children’s Boston. Dr. Donelan recruited him to complete a post-graduate fellowship in pediatric burn reconstruction. Dr. Driscoll joined the medical staff at Shriners Children’s Boston after being hired by the late Dr. Ronald Tompkins. He specializes in reconstructive surgery for facial burn injuries as well as congenital abnormalities, including microtia. This is a condition in which one or both of a child's ears are small or not properly formed.
According to Dr. Driscoll, the holistic care provided throughout a patient’s childhood is what makes Shriners Children’s Boston unique. “Burn care involves a huge team effort, from acute burn management to surgical reconstruction,” he said. “We have so much talent here. No one else offers what we do.”
Dr. Driscoll’s approach to pediatric burn reconstruction involves a slow and strategic methodology, centered on his ability to see patients regularly as they heal from their acute injuries. “If we can do what is immediately needed for children with burn injuries and bide our time until the scars are better, then the overall process of facial reconstruction goes so much better,” he said. “It’s all about strategy and timing, and making progress each step of the way.”
This philosophy embodies the Shriners Children’s mission of providing family-centered care. “The goal is to do as much as we can in each visit without overstressing the child or the family,” said Dr. Driscoll. “Then we are able to look ahead and plan our approach for their next visit. The Shriners system is so uniquely capable at this long-term care and reconstruction.”
Burn care involves a huge team effort, from acute burn management to surgical reconstruction.
His interest in international burn care has led Dr. Driscoll around the world, traveling to outreach clinics in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ukraine and Columbia. The focus of his mission work is not only to treat patients, but also to improve global burn care education. When complex international cases are referred to Shriners Children’s Boston, these collaborations allow for continuity of care after patients return to their home country.
The assistance that families receive with travel and housing arrangements when they come to Shriners Children’s Boston contributes to the successful outcomes that Dr. Driscoll achieves. “If we can plan to see a patient regularly, we don’t have to force the issue and get a sub-perfect result,” he said. “Planning that kind of trajectory is best for the child.”
After being committed to the Shriners Children’s mission for more than 20 years, Dr. Driscoll became a Shriner himself in 2020. He is a member of the Aleppo Shrine Center and the Simitar Mason Lodge, both located in Wilmington, Massachusetts. Reflecting on his decision to join the fraternity, he said, “I think the charity is wonderful and incredibly worthwhile. I wanted to see how I could contribute to the hospital as well as the charity.”
Dr. Driscoll has published countless journal articles and written numerous book chapters about his methodology for facial burn reconstruction. He presents nationally and internationally on topics in plastic surgery and burn reconstruction, and leads a reconstructive special interest group for the American Burn Association.
Dr. Driscoll also mentors plastic surgery residents at Shriners Children’s Boston, an opportunity he values greatly. “I work with really intelligent people who challenge me as much as I challenge them,” he said. “Pediatric burn reconstruction is such a small niche within the field of plastic surgery. It is important to document our concentrated experience, evaluate how we can make improvements, and share that knowledge with others in the field.”
Meet Shriners Children's Boston Plastic Surgeon Dr. Daniel Driscoll
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