Supposedly, doctors halt viruses, but local pediatrician Robert Hamilton just went viral.
His charming video on how to get a 1-month-old to stop crying hit 14.5 million views in little more than a week. It got picked up by Inside Edition, Mashable and True Feed. From there, the Huffington Post featured it. It moved to Buzzfeed and USA Today and was topping Reddit. Now, Dr. Bob — as locals affectionately call him — will talk on the Dr. Oz Show.
Dr. Bob, originally from Eureka, has struck gold.
Widely known and loved in Santa Monica, Dr. Bob has attended for 30 years to children of celebrities and soccer stars. He’s administered injections, checked newborns and calmed jittery parents.
“This is where God has put my wife and me and where we were meant to labor,” Dr. Bob said. “We have seen good times and challenging times. We have seen triumphs and heartbreaks.”
Dr. Bob has also led medical missions for over 20 years to Africa, Kyrgyzstan and Central America. Lighthouse Medical Missions have brought doctors and free medicine to some of the remotest parts of the planet on about 25 separate occasions through the decades.
Early on, Dr. Bob was especially impacted by what he saw in Sierra Leone, once the world’s second poorest country according to United Nations rankings. In post civil war time, there was appalling need unmatched by the nation’s scarcity of doctors and medical infrastructure.
“I am haunted by the image of a woman beating on our car’s window as we departed our compound en route to the airport,” said the owner of Pacific Ocean Pediatrics. “The mother was pointing to her son with a huge abscess on his leg. I thought, We need to get this kid antibiotics. But we were late and we couldn’t stop.”
He broke down in tears. Did the child live? He felt compelled to return to Africa.
To help where need is great bestows its own rewards. It has added to an already enriched life. He is happily married to Leslie Hamilton. They both have six kids and six grandchildren.
His daughter Noel also studied to be a pediatrician and now works alongside her dad in his business on Santa Monica Blvd across from St. John’s Health Center.
Lighthouse Medical Missions (LMM) has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for its medical missions. They take all their own medicine and equipment. They have built four schools/ churches in Sierra Leone – in Lungi, in Lunsar, in Jui, and in Kenema. Two full-scale water projects have been funded.
Dr. Bob, a born-again Christian since age 13, attends the vibrant and historic Lighthouse Church, from which he borrowed the name for his medical mission. LMM is open to just about anyone going and donating, even if they don’t share the Christian values of Dr. Bob.
Dr. Bob studied his undergraduate at U.C. Davis, where at age 20 he also married his childhood sweetheart. Then it was off to UCLA Medical School.
Regarding his fund-raising, Dr. Bob clarifies that money has flowed. “I’m pretty ambitious. But I’m NOT that ambitious about Africa. God has brought the money in. I’m not breaking people’s knuckles to give to Africa. It’s amazing what God has done.”
His latest venture – into the online world – started as a rather unambitious attempt to help parents calm fussy babies. He recruited talented film-makers from the Lighthouse Church and posted it on Sunday. Several church members shared it on their social media.
Dr. Bob – whose wildest dream was for 10,000 views – was disappointed with only 80 the day after posting.
But somebody of influence spotted it and re-posted it. It exploded like a nuclear bomb: by Tuesday it had 570,000 views. The next morning, 1.5 million. At last check last night, it hit 8.7 million.
“This is just phenomenal,” said a surprised Dr. Bob.
Meanwhile in his clinic, he’s prescribing to stop viruses.
*Picture: Rarely does Dr. Bob skateboard outside his office. Note: Since I wrote this article for the Santa Monica Patch, I am including it here on my blog. I hope you enjoy.