Seven foot surgeon helps the needy

People who need surgery but cannot afford it are turning to a man whose heart is as big as his stature. Dan Ivankovich, MD Orthopedic Surgeon, is tired of seeing people suffer because they cannot afford medical care and is taking matters in to his own giant hands.

It is estimated that 50 million Americans do not have health insurance. A Harvard study found about 45 thousand Americans die every year because they cannot afford the healthcare they need.

In regards to the number of patients Dr. Ivankovich treats, "I would say comfortably about 850 to 1000 cases a year."

He says he is not trying to save the world. "I did want to impact my city, these communities, and these people's lives in a positive way"

Dr. Ivankovich grew up well-off in Chicago. Both of his parents are physicians. But, as an NBA hopeful, he spent lots of time playing ball on the other side of town, which is where his clinic is now located.

Dr. Ivankovich explains, "I got to meet people and see their parents, I got to see where they lived and it devastated me. 6 people living in a twelve ft by twelve ft apartment. It was horrible."

Then he faced his own tragedy. A busted knee ended his basketball career. He says, "That was probably the lowest point in my life."

Now, his life is filled with people who look up to him, and it is not just because of his height.

Dr. Ivankovich's “bone squad" is able to perform their work thanks to the One Patient Global Health Initiative. The not-for-profit group he co-founded has also helped him open clinics to help those in need.

To learn more about the organization or to donate, go to


Background: According to the commonwealth fund and bloomberg news, the number of americans who lack health insurance for at least part of the year reached 52 million in 2010. This number is about 40 percent higher than the 38 million who went without health insurance in 2001, according to the biennial health insurance survey. Most of the uninsured were from low- and moderate-income households that earned up to $44,100 per year. The average unweighted rate of uninsured was 47 percent compared to a 13 percent rate of uninsured from higher-income households.

One doctor's story: Dan Ivankovich was born in Croatia, and has been a resident of chicago since the age of 3. Ivankovich skipped several grades in school, and his parents were both physicians. Ivankovich achieved all-state and all-american honors as a hoops baller and shot-caller and was one of the most highly-recruited players in the united states. With over 500 scholarship offers, he decided to play for northwestern university while working towards his bsm/md. Then, a knee injury ended his dreams of playing for the nba. However, ivankovich went on to earn his medical degree. (source:

Helping the uninsured: Dr. Ivankovich refuses to turn patients away because they are not able to pay for a particular procedure. When someone arrives at a chicago emergency room where he's on staff, the hospital calls him up. He co-founded one patient global health initiative, which is a non-profit organization committed to providing resources for accessible health care in underserved populations without discrimination and regardless of ability to pay. "I did want to impact my city, these communities, these people's lives in a positive way," Dr. Ivankovich told ivanhoe. (source:

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