Groundbreaking retinal eye surgery
June 23, 2006
Groundbreaking retinal eye surgery

Joseph Bissessar of Lowman’s Hill, Camden Park became the first person to undergo both cataract and retinal optical surgeries here in St Vincent and the Grenadines. This landmark surgery conducted last Wednesday June 21st at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital was made possible mainly due to the humanitarian work of Columbus, Ohio, United States surgeon, Dr. Warren Sabol.

Dr. Sabol first came to St. Vincent and the Grenadines five years ago as part of a Lion’s Club group from the United States, and saw the need for work to be done in the area of retinal surgery, a delicate, complicated and expensive ophthalmological procedure.{{more}} The devout Jew, who is also impressed with St Vincent and the Grenadines’ level of religious tolerance shipped over US$50,000 worth of equipment to St Vincent to facilitate the work.

He has since been coming to St Vincent and the Grenadines of his own volition once a year, driven only by his desire to give back to society and to do his part in improving the lives of less fortunate persons. “I want to also teach the youths that life is not only about what you can get but what you can give back,” declared the 18-year surgical veteran who is accompanied on this trip by two of his sons, Garret 18, and Ethan 16, along with their two high school friends, David Schmelcer 16, and Asher Kay 17.

The Columbus Torah Academy students told SEARCHLIGHT that they are excited about the work being done and are all planning to pursue careers in medicine. “I just enjoy helping people,” stated Garrett.

He and the other youngsters were doing their part to help on the trip. They measured over 50 persons who are to receive glasses that the young men themselves secured in the United States for distribution here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Dr. Sabol told SEARCHLIGHT that he is also going to be working hard at convincing another surgeon to visit the state every six months to assist in the work that is being done. He had high praise for the administration and staff at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital commenting that “the nurses have worked real hard to make all the work possible.”

Sabol has visited several countries doing voluntary work but was not able to do retinal surgeries in some countries, for example Honduras because the health service structure was not up to standard. He pointed out that the infrastructure that is already in place in St. Vincent makes this work possible.

The cataract part of the procedure was done by Dr. Pedro Suarez, Cuban Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Milton Cato Memorial. They were scheduled to do two such procedures on that day.