EYES: PASSING OF A HEALER[col. Writ. 6/7/19 (c) ’19 Mumia Abu-Jamal]
The name, Dr. Patricia Bath, is perhaps unfamiliar to you, as it was to me just a few days ago; but a colleague shared obituaries from several newspapers, and I could only be moved by the extraordinary life and achievements of Dr. Bath.
She earned her medical degree from Howard University Medical School, and began her internship in the neighborhood of her birth: Harlem.
For most of her professional career, she worked as an ophthalmologist (or eye doctor) and, as a scientist she developed techniques and equipment designed to treat and relieve glaucoma and cataracts in her patients.
In 1988, Dr. Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe, a device that removed cataracts and which she also, incidentally, patented. Her work returned vision to people who had been blind for decades.
Why write about the life of Dr. Patricia Bath?
Because she was a medical pioneer -a Black doctor who brought relief, light and sign to people across Black America, and beyond.
But there is another reason.
Several months ago, I was diagnosed by an ophthalmologist with having glaucoma – and cataracts. I was stunned by this news!
A month ago, my eyesight deteriorated so badly that I couldn’t read a book – or a newspaper.
Thus, the news about the life and passing of Dr. Patricia Bath naturally caught my attention.
Dr. Bath reached 76 years of life before returning to her ancestors.
Today, I await treatment.
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