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Board Blog

This blog is written by various COS board members for the members of the society.  

At this time in history, being a whistleblower is certainly a controversial subject.  However, this particular individual that I have learned about is someone who I wish I had known and I imagine you do too!  In particular, this whistleblower was an ophthalmologist.  In fact, he was not just any ophthalmologist but a Christian ophthalmologist who lived in Wuhan, China and trusted God with his future. 

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Dr. Li Wenliang was 34 years old and worked in Wuhan, China.  He apparently was very smart and very brave.   On December 30th, 2019, he reported on 7 patients all from a local seafood market who had been diagnosed with a SARS-like illness and were quarantined in the hospital.  He had noted that on December 3rd, he saw a test sample that showed the presence of a coronavirus similar to the SARS virus which caused 800 deaths in a 2002-2003 outbreak.  He sent a message on Weibo (a Chinese version of Twitter) to warn his medical school alumni about wearing protective clothing.   Apparently this alone caused a visit from the Wuhan police who accused him of “rumour-mongering” and who tried to silence him.  He was persecuted because of his actions and for telling the truth.  Most of us have heard about this since it has hit our national news.

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ComfortingPatientI want to start by introducing you to my chocolate lab, Ellie. She is likely the sweetest and most gentle dog you’ll ever meet. As a matter of fact, her temperament is so pleasant my wife and I named our first born after Ellie, hoping that our daughter would somehow inherit the traits of her namesake (please don’t tell my wife I’m advertising this). What you really need to know about Ellie (the dog) is that she was born to retrieve. From a young pup, it was evident that retrieving was in her blood and because she showed so much promise, I decided to capitalize on her talent and train her to be a retriever. Training a dog to properly retrieve is very difficult as she must first learn the importance of obedience. The commands, “sit, stay, heel, right, left, back, okay!” began as chores that she initially begrudging obeyed but as time progressed, she realized that obedience always led her to the prize. That was one of the first lessons Ellie taught me about faith.

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Recently, 2 Corinthians 5:7 came to mind as God worked in my heart to leave the practice I had been at for almost a decade.  The verse states, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  I had considered leaving the practice for the previous five years, but I had decided against it because I could not see a better alternative, and I sensed the timing was not right.  I continued to ask God for His direction and timing.

James 1:5-6 reminded me of my need for faith as I waited on God’s answer. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

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ComfortingPatientAs a father of 4 children (ages 3,6, 8, and 10) I battle with the balance of work and family. I desire to be the best husband, father, and retina surgeon that I can be. There is a constant battle between these roles. At the end of each day, I feel like I never was able to give as much time as I would like to any of these 3 priorities. Physicians are well aware there is a massive demand for our time. We can see more patients, do more surgeries, make more money, produce more articles, have more possessions, but we can never have more time. You can’t buy back your time, and no amount of effort can produce additional time. As a retina specialist I see many elderly patients and conversations naturally arise and patients inquire about my kids. I get the same type of response in every conversation, “Enjoy those children, it goes by fast”, or “they grow up fast”. In hundreds of these conversations no one has ever told me “It’s going to feel like eternity but those children will eventually grow up and move out of your house.”

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Isn’t that an amazing statement?  I mean really are we ever doubtful that God is working?  God is certainly working every day, every night – in fact every second of every day and night!!  It is us who just aren’t aware of what all God is doing.  Sometimes we see Him working with our eyes, but are just dulled to it or not tuned in and forget to give Him credit!  So when I see God working with my eyes and am tuned in as well, then I find it awesome indeed!

On Wednesday August 28th, Hurricane Dorian began in the Caribbean and started its long slow journey as a category 5 storm.  Over Labor Day weekend, August 31 – Sept 2nd, Dorian stalled over the northernmost islands of the Bahamas for nearly 2 days.   Our hearts went out immediately to the people but for the COS, in particular, our hearts were heavy for Dr. Duranda Ash who lives and practices in Freeport.  Through the storm we prayed and waited to hear from Duranda.  There was a notable pause in communication from her during this entire time and no word was heard until Wednesday, Sept 4th when a single text was received that said “IT IS WELL!  Thank you so so so much for your prayers !!!  God is a shield around us, our glory and the lifter of our head.”  Though flooding claimed the lives of others who stayed in their homes not far away, Duranda had stayed in her home and protected another mother and child whose home would be destroyed by the flooding.    They were safe and alive!   Praise God!

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