Very efficient eye theatre team

28 March 2016

On Tuesday March 22, in the Hauora Tairāwhiti operating theatre, the eye team managed to get through seven cataract operations.

This is a remarkable effort and a credit to all involved given that most public hospitals around NZ perform only 4 cataract operations on a list. The famed Melbourne Eye and Ear Hospital apparently struggles to perform 3 cases on a list!


Eye Theatre team

From left: Kerry Coburn, Michael Main, Graham Wilson. Christine Barnes-Graham, Emily Hyde, Michelle Goldsmith.

Cataract surgery is the most commonly performed operation in the world – with somewhere between 20 and 25 million undertaken. Undertaking a safe operation is the paramount concern, but obviously efficiency follows closely. But the patients are usually elderly and frequently have health co-morbidities meaning that things cannot always be “rushed”. Having experienced and competent staff who know the drill is a vital ingredient into providing such efficiency.

Organising a cataract operation is like organising a small army. It starts with booking the patient (Karen Swann) then moves to the pre-op assessment and eye measurements (Rachel Cook and Kate Foss). Anne Thompson in DOSU has the job of instilling the slightly stingy eye-drops and then calming pre-op nerves. Dawn Spedding-Millar and Reyna Marama deliver the patients to theatre and Michael Main checks the patients into theatre and undertakes the critical anaesthetic role of hand-holding! The specialised eye nurses, Christine Barnes- Graham, Kerry Coburn and Michelle Goldsmith along with trainee Emily Hyde are run-ragged with the myriad of set-up jobs and obsessive nature of each cataract operation. The operations are performed by Ophthalmologist Dr Graham Wilson.

This great team manages to get each patient in and out of theatre within a 29 minute time-frame on average. In the background the CSSD team were working to turn the instruments around to facilitate the efficiencies. Data collected a year or so ago showed that Gisborne Hospital ranked third out of 29 Hospitals in NZ and Australia for cataract surgery turnover.

We are very lucky to have such a dedicated and caring eye team caring for the vision of Tairāwhiti.

Thanks also to Chelsea Hospital for providing an extra cataract set.