Published on December 06, 2016

Johnston Health employees join mission to restore sight

The operating rooms at Johnston Health Clayton where Dr. Dean Dornic performs cataract surgeries is about as modern, and the OR team, about as efficient, as they come. But during a recent medical mission trip to Honduras, he and members of the hospital staff found they could be every bit as productive in a much more modest setting.

The local ophthalmologist was part of a medical team who volunteered their time and talent in a small clinic in Quimistan, Santa Barbara. Altogether, they saw 500 patients, performed 92 surgeries, and gave out 200 pairs of glasses.

It was Randy Barnes, an OR tech and OR materials manager at Clayton, who put together the trip, and persuaded co-workers to come along. The clinic was on the grounds of a church, and the government of Honduras provided security.

Barnes is a pastor of 24 years, and the Honduras trip was in conjunction with his volunteer role as the executive director of international ministries for Cutting Edge Revelational Ministries. Getting ready for the mission trip took about a year, he says.

There’s no doubt about the need. An estimated 640,000 people in Honduras have blindness due to cataracts, he says.

“It was awesome to see the response,” Barnes says. “The people were so excited, so thankful. In some cases, patients were able to see within minutes after their surgeries. It really was a blessing to them.”

For his part, Dr. Dornic said offering a service that makes such a difference in the lives of people is rewarding. He says he’s already looking forward to going on another trip next year.

In addition to Dr. Dornic and his wife, Pam, the local delegation was made up of registered nurses Lisa Williamson, Sarah Hales and Melissa Monforte, and surgical tech Dione Clark, who invited the ophthalmologist to join the medical team.

Twenty other volunteers assigned to construction and church-related projects rounded out the larger group.

In addition to arranging the logistics for the trip, Barnes led the fundraising to pay for supplies and expenses. A company lent him the equipment needed to perform the surgeries.

“We’re really grateful for our sponsors and to everyone who contributed to the cause,” he said. “We all worked together to get it done.”