Blog submitted by Dr David
Dr David Hunter Cherwek has been a member of the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital since June 2005. During this time, he has served as staff ophthalmologist, lead ophthalmologist, medical director of the Flying Eye Hospital, Director of the Flying Eye Hospital and is currently serving as the medical director for ORBIS International.
During the recent Flying Eye Hospital program in Trujillo, Peru, I experienced one of the most intense moments of déjà vu of my life in the middle of a very busy Screening Clinic in pediatric ophthalmology. For those of you unfamiliar with an ORBIS screening clinic, this is the day when the local host hospital presents up to 30 cases in a particular sub-specialty to ORBIS volunteer faculty, of which an average of 10-15 will be selected for surgery during the week. Multiply that by an average of 5 sub-specialty clinics per screening day (glaucoma, cornea, retina, pediatrics, etc) and you suddenly find yourself amidst 100-125 patients awaiting examination and further treatment.
During this particular screening, I saw a young boy waiting with his mother on a bench and automatically recognized that I had walked him down the stairs of the plane after surgery during a previous program. My “double-take” also caught the attention of the young boy’s mother who grabbed my arm and reached in her purse to pull out a photo album. She quickly showed me a picture from the 2006 Flying Eye Hospital program in Chiclayo, Peru, with her son and me at the base of the stairs of the Flying Eye Hospital just after the boy’s operation.
I quickly emailed the ORBIS NY office to get his 2006 chart and Rebecca Saxton-Fox, the Flying Eye Hospital coordinator, responded immediately with his chart by sending me a scanned copy. During the 2006 program, we treated his pediatric glaucoma and since that program the young boy had developed a cataract which we were asked by our host to evaluate during this program. I was very pleased to learn that our pediatric volunteer faculty member, Dr Douglas Frederick, found this boy’s case to be a great teaching case for the local doctors with a positive prognosis and was able to perform his cataract surgery aboard the Flying Eye Hospital. Once again I was able to see this young boy benefit from our team’s efforts.