Mini-me: GSDM alum, prosthodontist receives a unique gift from a grateful patient

“Do you like my mini me?” Eyad Haidar DMD 95, staff prosthodontist in the Department of Dentistry & OMS at Boston Medical Center, asked, chuckling, as he hands over a small foam figurine. “It is so cute! Look at the sneakers—it even has the stain,” he said.

With its light blue scrubs, mask and glasses, there’s no missing the similarities between Haidar and his doppelganger.

Many doctors receive small gifts from grateful patients, but a foam figurine was a first for Haidar. Standing several inches tall, the figure depicts Haidar in his scrubs, holding a clipboard that reads, “Tooth be told, Dr. Haidar is the best dentist ever.” The gift was made by a patient of Haidar’s.

“It’s just amazing, how much attention to detail that she put into….even this, with the batteries sticking out,” he said, gesturing to the loupes on the top of the figurine’s head.

Haidar said that he never imagined receiving something as intricate as the figurine.

“I was honestly in shock,” he said. “This was probably the most touching [gift] I have ever [received], because it looks so realistic with the scrubs, what she wrote… was very nice of her.”

The patient was in a vehicle accident in 1985, and has had more than 40 surgeries since to correct the resulting damage; one of these procedures included installing an obturator, an appliance that blocked communication between her oral cavity and her nose and sinus. The prosthesis is intended to help with speech, prevent food and/or liquids from coming out of the nose, and replace missing teeth—hers, however, was ill-fitting, and made it difficult for her to chew.

“My case is a complicated one, and after many tries to fix the problem without success, my situation was getting worse,” she said.

She asked Dr. Waleed Ezzat, assistant professor, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, at Boston Medical Center, to refer her to a doctor who could treat a case as complicated as hers. He suggested Dr. Haidar.

“Without a second thought, Dr. Haidar talked to his assistant about his plans to solve my problem,” she said. “…with just one look, he knew what to do.”

Haidar ended up making her a new obturator. “It’s stable and I think the aesthetics of it also improved a lot,” he said.

The patient said that she’s seen significant improvement since receiving the new obturator. “After he was done, my speech, chewing, and everything related to the area of my mouth improved a lot,” she said. “The new [obturator] reaches the missing part of my mouth and makes it work as it used to when I was 18, before the accident that destroyed my face.”

“I can even whistle now,” she added.

The patient created the figurine out of foam craft sheets, plastic-coated steel iron, Styrofoam balls, playdough and “love.” She said that it took more than a week to create, as she wanted it to look just like him.

“The figurine is just my way to say how much I appreciate him as an excellent professional and human being,” she said. “After more than 40 surgeries and getting in touch with so many doctors, I can tell you for sure, he is special.”