Recently, the charity campaign “People Inspired by Norman Bethune” offered five days of free medical treatment and surgery for eye patients in Qinghai. The medical team was composed of doctors from the affiliated eye hospital of Wenzhou Medical Univeristy (WMU) and Canadian doctors and volunteers including Chen Zhanqiang (John Chen), a well-known ophthalmologist.
In five days, the medical team, well received by local patients, travelled around in Minhe County and Xining, the Capital of Qinghai, to deliver free medical treatment and surgery. Qinghai has a relatively high proportion of the population suffering from retinitispigmentosa. Meanwhile, hereditary eye diseases, pathological myopia, diabetic retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma are very common in Qinghai. Being relatively backward in economic and social development, poverty-stricken farmers and herdsmen living on the remote Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are faced with enormous difficulties when it comes to blindness prevention and treatment.
The corridor of the make-shift operating room built in the People’s Hospital of Minhe County was packed with patients lining up to seek medical help. In a windowless room measuring less than 5 square meters, Doctor Wu Ronghan from the affiliated eye hospital of WMU sat along the wall facing the door to the room. Seeing sweating in his face, nurses next to him were worried about Doctor Wu for the high temperature in the room. However, he said: “It does not matter, I am ok, let me treat the patients!” From early in the morning to two o’clock in the afternoon, doctors did not take a moment for rest when treating the patients. “I am happy that I can help more patients.”said Doctor Chen Zhanqiang. Ma Xiuying, a 55-year-old Dama (Aunt) of Hui ethnicity, came early in the morning to line up for the medical service after learning the medical team of major experts have come to the local hospital. The screening and diagnosis results suggested that Dama Ma had suffered from diabetic retinopathy with vitreous hemorrhage in her right eye for probably up to 10 years. Without timely surgery, it may lead to retinal detachment, or even blindness. As her family was poor, Dama Ma had never got her eyes carefully checked in hospital. After learning her case, the medical team immediately made arrangements for free vitrectomy and other surgical treatment for her. She said: “my eyes have been not feeling comfortable for years. I have no money to see a doctor. You are a big help to me!” In total, the medical team offered free eye screening, diagnosis and treatment for 206 eye patients in Minhe County.
In addition to offering free medical services, the medical team also participated in the establishment ceremony of the Eye Center of the Affiliated Hospital of Qinghai University. Together with ophthalmologists of the Affiliated Hospital of Qinghai University, the medical team carried out free surgery for the patients with eye diseases in Qinghai Province. They successfully performed surgery on 12 local patients, and conducted academic exchanges with local doctors for training purposes.