To save a life is to save the world. An ancient saying, it perfectly captures how our actions impact the people of Haiti. Here is one such story, related by Dr. Beth Bromberg, who recently returned from her annual ophthalmology trip.
About a year and a half ago, Pastor Wiljean, who runs the Open Door clinic and orphanage we’ve partnered with in Limonade, asked me to see a woman in her 30’s whom he knew from his church. She was in NY and had been diagnosed with a benign brain tumor which was affecting numerous nerves in her brain that affect eye and lid movement.
After examining her, I sent her to Westchester Medical Center for surgery and they arranged radiation after surgery for her in Florida, where she had family. About six-months later, she came to see me when I was in Haiti, but her symptoms had not yet improved. Last month, she returned to the eye clinic again while our eye team was in Haiti and her condition was significantly better! It was a very happy moment for all of us!
The February Ophthalmology trip was a huge success in many other ways as well. Dr. Beth Bromberg and Dr. Mitch Stein led a team of veteran doctors, optometrists, and an engineer, as well as first-time nurse and a student.
Dr. Bromberg donated two machines to the eye clinic in Cap Haitien, and the team taught their proper use and maintenance, and how to interpret results. One is a Visual Field analyzer which is very important in the evaluation of glaucoma, retinal and neurological eye disorders, the other an optic nerve analyzer used to follow glaucoma progression and to detect changes in the nerve before the changes are noticeable on the visual field test.
Both of these machines will allow the doctors to show the patients how glaucoma is affecting their nerve and their vision. It is usually a painless loss of vision and the patients do not understand that when they notice the loss of vision it is too late to help.
The team performed outreach at 2 new places: Caracol, which, for those of you who know translator Guindi, is his home town, and to Blue Hills near Cap Haitien. The team was able to dispense glasses to patient’s in need and screen for cataracts, glaucoma and other vision threatening diseases.