Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation founder dies at age of 91

Taipei, Dec. 4 (CNA) Retired American surgeon Samuel Noordhoff, founder of the Taipei-based Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation, has passed away in the United States, the foundation announced Tuesday.Noordhoff, better known in Taiwan by his Chinese name Luo Huei-fu, died of heart failure at 3 a.m. Monday (U.S. time) at the age of 91, the foundation said in a statement.A memorial service will be held for Noordhoff in Taipei in the near future, the foundation said.A surgeon and missionary from Orange, Iowa, Noordhoff came to Taiwan in 1959 at the invitation of Mackay Memorial Hospital. He immediately began helping Taiwanese children born with cleft lips and palates, a mission that would remain important to him for his 40 years in Taiwan.Noordhoff, who served as president of both Mackay Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, set many milestones in craniofacial care in the country.He set up its first craniofacial center for patients with cleft lips and palates along with its first polio rehabilitation center, the first burn center, and the first intensive care unit.In 1989, he donated US$100,000 to establish the Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation to help people with craniofacial deformities receive holistic care, sponsor research to advance the quality of medical care, and improve public awareness and social acceptance of patients.He returned to the United States to live in 1999 after retiring from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, but visited Taiwan frequently after that, with his last visit coming in 2013.Noordhoff suffered from Parkinson's disease in the later years of his life, limiting his ability to travel.In 2017 he received a Presidential Cultural Award from President Tsai Ing-wen in recognition of his humanitarian contributions. Unable to fly back to Taiwan for the award, he sent a written speech, in which he credited all Taiwanese for the honor."On behalf of the people in Taiwan's medical field, this award is really yours. For you see, you cannot accomplish anything by yourself."Many hard working and wonderful people helped me through the years. It is the people in the medical field of Taiwan that have worked hard to develop Taiwan's medical community into the world renowned community it is today," he said.