Blaine physician trains Vietnamese eye doctors
By Jack Kintner
In what has already been called the largest surgical training program in Asia, a team of 30 leading eye specialists from four countries traveled to Vietnam to devote a week in June to training local eye surgeons in modern eye care.
Edward E. Crouch, M.D., retired ophthalmologist of Blaine, was one of those chosen for the international faculty of the Imperial City Eye Meeting II, held in Hue City, June 2-6, to lecture and demonstrate advanced eye surgical techniques to the Vietnamese ophthalmologists.
The Congress Hall of the Huong Giang Hotel was packed all week with 326 eager Vietnamese eye surgeons from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hanoi, Danang, and other parts of the country to hear Dr. Crouch and his colleagues, eye specialists from the U.S. as well as Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
The program featured modern treatment of cataracts and intraocular lenses, as well as laser, corneal, retinal and ocular reconstructive surgery and glaucoma.
Dr. Crouch and his fellow faculty members traveled to Vietnam at their own expense to donate their time in lecture and laboratory training sessions. “We are really doing this for the patients of our Vietnamese colleagues,” said Crouch. “They are the ones who benefit from the enhanced skills we impart to their surgeons.”
A non-profit medical group called the Hawaiian Eye Foundation, based in Honolulu, sponsored the eye meeting. Foundation President John M. Corboy, M.D., said that working in a foreign language under a socialist government provided some fascinating challenges.
“We are particularly indebted to Ed Crouch and our team of specialists who so generously donate their time, money, and skills to help others,” he said, “because without strong faculty support, we could never have created this historic event.”
In addition to the daily lectures, the Vietnamese eye surgeons received one-on-one individualized surgical instruction by Dr. Crouch and the faculty volunteers. Operating under powerful microscopes on pigs’ eyes, the team guided trainees through the latest techniques and instrumentation.
In appreciation of their efforts, the local doctors treated Dr. Crouch and other volunteers to tours of the Citadel, former palace of the Nguyen emperors, as well as local pagodas and temples.
After the weeklong meeting, Ed and Carolyn Crouch joined other faculty members in an educational tour of Vietnam, including visits to eye hospitals and clinics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
“I was honored to have been selected for this,” Crouch said, “and I’ve already offered to return in 2010.”