The New Pixian Provincial Hospital No. 2
The welcoming red banner and pink color guard!
May 31, 2015 (Pixian, Sichuan, China ...near Dujiangyan) The work began in earnest on Sunday…a screening clinic in Pixian where we saw about 100 patients with a broad range of eye conditions - mostly severe cataracts, but also a fair amount of cornea and retina disease and some pediatric issues too. The residents observed cataract surgery - one of the early trainees (Lisa) from previous years’ trips was at that hospital operating and she has become very proficient and skilled at cataract surgery. The challenge now is to find another 1000 people like her, train them and provide places to operate and we can do something about the backlog of cataracts here in Sichuan - estimated to be 1.2 million people blind from cataracts!
The screening was held outside on the hospital entrance. The hospital was very nice (Provincial No. 2 Hospital in Pixian) rebuilt shortly after the earthquake. We set up a screening station to visit with patients, find out their main complaints, do a penlight exam and if needed, they would be referred for slit lamp eye exams, dilation and retinal exams (held inside the hospital). Dr. Farris and Patel manned the slit/lamp/retina testing while I stayed on
Touring the facility with the head ophthalmologist at the Pixian Hospital
the front lines. There were many older patients - some real charming characters like a great 93-year old Chinese man with long wispy eyebrows and a scraggly long mustache/beard with severe cataracts. They were all so appreciative when we were finished with them and had gotten them aligned for surgery.
It was impressive to go back to some of the earthquake stricken areas and facilities we'd seen before to see how far some of these communities had advanced. Despite the availability of care, accessing cataract surgery is still a challenge for many of the patients who are functionally blind. The amount of surgery needs to be increased significantly in Sichuan and hopefully our efforts this week will start building infrastructure and training programs that can impact that need.
What's a blog entry without a funny quip? Breakfast at the Mother Farm hotel was served buffet style in a huge auditorium and was bustling with activity. There were hundreds of people queuing up for food, and they were pretty aggressive - often snatching stuff we'd be reaching for just as we are about to pick it up. We learned quickly! Anyway, we are sitting at our table we start
Dr. Farris hamming it up in the optical shop
to notice these ladies coming up and taking pictures of Jonathan and Jared - Jonathan mostly. After a while, they get bolder and ask to take pictures WITH him...so he stands up and obliges, and the flood gates open. They then see Jared and try to do the same, and the rest of us (encouraging the activity of course) quickly stand up and head for the door, leaving the pretty boy there signing autographs and posing with his fans! Very funny scene...
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