Episode 14: Restoring Vision to a Special Young Man
Tom is a courageous and engaging young man with advanced Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy. Years of steroid treatment have caused him to develop extremely dense cataracts and he is now legally blind. Severe muscular atrophy has left him quadriplegic with very significant respiratory problems that do not permit him to lie flat. Furthermore, even mild sedation could result in life-threatening oxygenation problems.
In this video our team performs cataract surgery without any sedation. Significant assistance is rendered by his mother, an RN who has essentially dedicated her life to caring for her severely disabled son. During the procedure, reverse Trendelenburg positioning, a positive pressure breathing apparatus and special draping to prevent claustrophobia enabled us to optimize his comfort and safety.
Tom now has 20/20 distance and near vision in both eyes without glasses, His remarkable bravery in dealing with this dreaded disease and the dedication of his mother are more than inspirational, and their joy at the recovery of his sight was wonderful to behold. From the vantage point of this surgeon, I can only attest to what my dedicated colleagues already know; this is why we became physicians.
Richard J. Mackool, MD Financial disclosure: Consultant to Alcon, Diopsys. Proprietary interest in MST, Impex.