by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Cataract surgery is greatest surgical requirement requested
- Dominic McLawrence sight enhanced following cataract surgery onboard USNS Comfort
- Second day of patient screening for onboard surgeries Tuesday, 17 September
After having undergone three prior cataract surgeries on his left eye, Dominic McLawrence of Carriacou knows all too well about experiencing tremendous pain and discomfort post-surgery. However, after his fourth cataract surgery onboard the USNS Comfort, on its second day of medical services to Grenada, McLawrence has testified that he has not experienced any pain whatsoever and although still in recovery, his sight has already been enhanced.
“I had a cataract in the left eye and I was surprised, no pain at all from that time to now. Right now, I am seeing like though I am looking into binoculars, it’s so clear and yesterday before that I wasn’t able to see even my fingers,” said McLawrence.
McLawrence was among many Grenadians taking full advantage of the medical services provided abroad the USNS Comfort. Scheduled for cataract surgery on Sunday, 15 September he is appreciative that his wait for cataract removal was significantly cut short with the Comfort’s intervention. He said if it were not for this surgery, he would have had to wait until January of next year to receive surgery at the General Hospital, since cataract surgery is not available in Carriacou. McLawrence was discharged on Monday after being prescribed pain medications and lubricant eye drops, and was referred to the Ministry of Health for the necessary follow-up.
His daughter, Kerensa was quoted as saying, “My father was nearly blind in his left eye. Now we look forward to him being able to read and dial the phone without our assistance. I would encourage anyone to come. The people, the doctors — everyone — has been great.”
Francis Jeffery was another patient taking full advantage of the opportunity to have free cataract surgery on Sunday. He too was discharged on Monday having had surgery on his right eye. Speaking to members of the media, Jeffery encouraged others not to fear since he can testify of now being in a better position to regain his sight. “People should not be frightened to come on board to get whatever surgery that has to be done, because the people are great and the service was excellent so people shouldn’t have no fear,” said Jeffery.
For all patients being discharged, Ministry of Health medical personnel were on hand to ensure the smooth transfer of medical records to facilitate proper monitoring of the patients’ recovery process.
A brief tour of the ship led by Director of Nursing Services Captain Charles Cather, allowed journalists to witness day to day operations of the ship’s medical staff, including observing cataract and gall bladder surgeries aboard the hospital ship. He also showed off the ship’s impressive capacity, including 12 operating areas which are set up for interventional radiology. He said the greatest surgical requirement requested by many Grenadians was for cataract surgery.
“Cataract is when the lens in your eye begins to cloud cover in time and so it’s almost a biblical proportion you are able to to give back sight to the blind by breaking down the old lens with the tiny instrument, and injecting a brand new lens in and have 20/20 vision within an hour,” he said.
The Comfort is on the seventh destination of its five-month mission to bring medical relief to vulnerable people in the Caribbean and the Americas. The medical team has two medical sites, one at the Kirani James Athletic Stadium and second at the Grenada Trade Centre. These medical sites provide free medical consultations, x-rays, medications, and eyeglasses and are expected to remain until Friday, 20 September when the ship leaves for St Lucia.
The USNS Comfort will hold the second day of patient screening for onboard surgeries today Tuesday, 17 September for nearly 100 persons who have been referred by their physicians and the Ministry of Health.