My Hero

I am not, in general, much given to hero-worship. My sense of humour forbids. I think most people find those pedestals cold and lonely anyhow. I make an exception however for my ophthalmologist, I saw him yesterday. As I have mentioned previously here and elsewhere he has been very good to me in many ways, but that is not what makes him a hero.

I have been his patient almost from the moment he took up his present post and I have watched him almost single-handedly transform an enormous and chaotic hospital department into the smooth-running machine it is today. He is not the only consultant, nor even the most senior but his patience and perseverance have transformed the place almost beyond recognition. His specialist areas include diabetic eye disease, of course, and he has transformed treatment in this area, setting up a new, award winning retinal department and pioneering new treatments, which have saved the sight of many. He is an excellent surgeon and insists on similar standards from others. His operating theatre hygiene was, at first, ridiculed but it worked and has become the standard. No flapping around and behaving like a Prima Donna for him. He is always calm and controlled and patients and staff take confidence from this. He could not be said to have much of a bedside manner but patients quickly learn to trust him and appreciate his skill and integrity.

After several years, he appears, finally, to have achieved his main objectives in the department. Common-sense measures, but which required him to overcome prejudice, professional jealousy, NHS cuts and opposition from management. This is my sort of hero. Someone who wishes to help others and who works tirelessly towards achieving that aim, gradually overcoming opposition and refusing to allow obstacles to divert him from his course, which is to help as many patients as possible in the most effective way.

I feel privileged to have been his patient. I hope everyone is equally fortunate in finding a hero/heroine should the need arise.


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