by Lindsay Murphy, BSN, RN, Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak
In August, a team of Beaumont physicians, residents, nurse anesthetists, nurses and family members departed for a medical mission in Migori, Kenya, a remote rural community 300 miles west of Nairobi. Over three days in clinic, Beaumont staff performed some 55 cataract operations, saw over 400 general ophthalmic patients and another 200 general medical patients—many of whom traveled many miles on foot and on bicycle, over savannah trails and back roads to reach our clinic. No one was turned away; many patients stayed overnight at the clinic, rather than risk the dangerous journey home after dark.
During our mission, I saw a 14-year-old girl who came to the clinic with a severe cataract in the right eye, leaving her with only hand-motion vision in that eye. The left eye sported a perfectly functional intraocular lens and 20/20 vision, the legacy of a previous cataract surgery. In halting but correct English, she told me, “One year ago, you fixed my other eye. Is perfect. I waited for you to return, my other eye to fix.” Via interpreter, her mother told us that her previous surgery had been done by a Beaumont ophthalmic team in 2012 and she wanted the same team to treat her other eye.
We were in the most remote reaches of Eastern Africa, over 7,000 miles from home. Our patient probably couldn’t have told you where Detroit was on a map… but she knew, with her vision at stake, that she wanted a Beaumont surgeon.
The young girl underwent an uneventful surgery and her second eye turned out just as perfect as the first. I’m proud to be a part of a group of Beaumont health providers that serve people around the globe, traveling to other countries on their own time to help those in need.