Dr. Jordana G. Fein recently made her second consecutive trip to Honduras as part of the Virginia Hospital Center’s Medical Brigade’s annual effort to improve the health of communities in Honduras. Accompanied by a pediatric ophthalmologist, two senior residents from Georgetown/Washington Hospital Center and a pediatric Fellow from Children’s National Hospital, she participated in cataract surgeries on more than two dozen patients.
While each of the villagers that received treatment in the past two missions offered a compelling story, one particular experience stands out for Dr. Fein and her colleagues. The Brigade Eye Care team examined an 8-year-old boy, Jose, who had lost the majority of his eyesight due to cataracts. While screening him for a new pair of eyeglasses during their trip last year, he was diagnosed with bilateral cataracts and was driven down from the mountains in order to have surgery at San Benito Jose. The procedure was completed, and both Jose and his mother were brought to tears of joy when only minutes after the surgery, he was able for the first time to see and identify the color in a picture of a car. The story’s happy ending was made all the better when the Brigade surgical team followed up with the youngster and removed cataracts in his right eye during this year’s trip, and subsequently got him fitted for new glasses, improving his vision and his quality of life.
The Virginia Hospital Center’s Medical Brigade is a 501(c)(3) and USAID PVO registered organization founded in 1999 after Hurricane Mitch destroyed much of Central America, especially Honduras. The group’s initial efforts were to provide disaster relief with subsequent endeavors focused on offering curative services. In more recent years, the Brigade has added programs that support sustainable community development interventions and reduce the impact of preventable diseases on vulnerable populations. More details and information on volunteering for or donating to the organization can be found at vhcmedicalbrigade.org.
Dr. Fein is pictured with young boy who had two cataract surgeries as part of the Virginia Hospital Center Medical Brigade, the most recent of which was done in November 2018.[/caption]