Trinity School of Medicine 5th Term Students Join World Pediatric Project in St. Vincent Ophthalmology Mission
In the first week of March, the World Pediatric Project returned to St. Vincent, this time for an ophthalmology clinic. The WPP trip, the third for 2017 thus far, brought another group of the NGO’s seasoned specialists to the island nation’s Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. As is usually the case, a group of Trinity’s 5th term students were there to assist, observe, and learn.
The trip was led by renowned ophthalmologist Dr. Donna Brown from the Virginia Eye Institute and plastic surgeon Dr. Nadia Blanchet. Team members included Sarah Thacker, OR nurse from Dr. Blanchet’s private practice; Doctors Rob Brown and Kent Rollins, urologists from Virginia Urology; Dr. James Stone, an anesthesiologist from Johnston-Willis Hospital; Lisa Sizemore, OR nurse and Mary O’Hanley, CRNA, both from the Virginia Eye Institute; and Karen Brown, a fourth year medical student. All came to provide acute, necessary care to Vincentians, going as far as transporting some cases back to the US for treatment.
Dr. Brown led her team through a series of cases, with Trinity students there each step of the way, as a teaching opportunity. During the several hours expended on clinic day, a total of sixty-one patients were seen. Dr. Brown explained her experience with the project. “Initially, we did eye muscle surgeries on children who had strabismus [ed. crossed eyes or drifting eyes]. This is not a cosmetic procedure: in children, an eye that crosses can lag behind in vision development, which can lead to people with a fully functional eye that can’t see; the brain hasn’t learned to use it.” She continued, “This is a small but critical vision saving or improving procedure.” She also noted that, “The complication rate of this procedure is very low.” She continued on through the case load, “Now we’re also providing intra-ocular surgeries. That means cataract surgeries in children and corneal transplants.” Dr. Brown said that she is now able to tackle these with the new state of the art equipment installed at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital and through collaborations with local ophthalmologists.